BOSTON -- If there was a surprise on the roster the Red Sox submitted this morning, it was the inclusion of Felix Doubront.
But there was a reason for the move, said John Farrell.
"We looked at Felix [for] the ability to give us multiple innings," said Farrell. "If we were to get into a situation where there's a lengthy rain delay and we need multiple innings, to start back up . . . But it was more the ability to go multiple innings and a guy who had a very good year for us."
Doubront's last start came on the final home game of the season, nearly two weeks ago. But Farrell said Doubront's arm strength is still built up enough that he can provide length.
"He could probably give us 75-80 pitches at this point," said Farrell. "How much further along we go and further along from that start could affect that, as well. But at least initially, that's where we're at."
Farrell held several meetings with Doubront after the lefty indicated last weekend in Baltimore that he viewed himself as a starter.
"That sit-down with him was critical," said Farrell, "in terms of the accepting of the role and understanding that there was going to be a need for change in routine. What needed to be further clarified was that he could pitch anywhere from one hitter to four innings and to remain open-minded and just go pitch to the best of your abilities until we take the ball out of your hand."
Meanwhile, Franklin Morales is being viewed primarily as the team's matchup lefty.
"He's got the ability to come in and get a strikeout with men on base," said Farrell, "and I think, through the last 10 days and two weeks, we've further identified who's better equipped and who thrives more in those situations versus a clean inning. Franklin showed us he's that guy from the left side."
* * * *
With Doubront on the roster, that frees Ryan Dempster to pitch in shorter spurts in the late innings.
"When we made the move with him to the bullpen," said Farrell, "we didn't see him as just the long guy. He has the ability to come in and get a right-hander. He's also been very good against lefties, his veteran presence . . . It creates more flexibility with Felix."
In fact, yhe eighth inning might be the most pivotal for the Sox, given some bullpen issues. Farrell said he would handle the inning as the situation dictates.
"Regardless of it's Game 1 of this series of Game 110 during the regular season," said Farrell, "there's going to be a similar approach to that: just kind of forecast, here's where a spot might come up. Plan A, B, or C can come up and that's no different today."
* * *
The Sox will carry three players not on the roster, but serving as sort of a taxi squad in case of an injury.
They are catcher Ryan Lavarnway, infielder John McDonald; and reliever Matt Thornton.
In addition, the Sox will allow injured pitchers Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller to travel with the team.
All five will be allowed to dress in uniform and be in the dugout during games.
* * * *
Farrell was asked which player might benefit most from the four-day layoff.
"Probably [Shane] Victorino," he said. "Letting that hand issue kind of calm down a little bit. All the work that he's done in the four days, in addition to the rest and swinging the bat, he doesn't feel any symptoms any more, so that's been a plus. And obviously, Jacoby [Ellsbury, suffering from a broken bone in his foot]. Those are two very critical guys in our lineup and obviously defensively, to have them out there and available at 100 percent, those are two pivotal guys."