Doubront feeling strong after two scoreless

Doubront feeling strong after two scoreless
March 2, 2014, 5:45 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After wearing down the last two seasons because of suspect conditioning and shoulder weakness, Felix Doubront understood that he needed to do a better job keeping himself -- and his left arm -- in shape this winter.
     
He spent two intensive periods at a deluxe workout facility in Florida, and Sunday, in his first game action of the spring, he began to see the results of that hard work.
     
"I was really focused on the physical part (in the off-season) and I worked hard," said Doubront, "to get strong and get the extra (strength) that I need during the season."
     
Doubront pitched two scoreless innings in an 8-6 victory for the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, recording three strikeouts while allowing one single.
     
"I was feeling really good," he said out of his outing. "I'm stronger now and I'm getting out there and throwing the ball with good location. I'll just try to keep doing that and repeating my delivery. Putting in all that work in the off-season, I don't worry about (wearing down) now. I just worry more about my mechanics and my pitches. I know that physically, I'm good.
     
"Mentally, I'm stronger and more conifdent because I'm physically good and I don't worry about the physical stuff now."
     
Doubront also tinkered with his delivery some, too, shortening his arm action to provide better command.
     
"It was a really good start to build off of, in his first outing in camp here," said John Farrell. "We'd like to build off last year, too, in some ways, to eliminate some of the physical peaks and valleys that he went through. Hopefully, this will be a better season than last."
     
Last year, Doubront won 11 games and went 16 straight starts -- from mid-May through mid-August -- without giving up more than three earned runs in a single game.
     
But by late in the summer, Doubront seemed gassed, the result of not having built himself -- or his shoulder -- up enough before the start of the season.
     
For a hard-throwing lefty with four quality pitches, Doubront should be better than he's shown. The Sox are hoping that this is finally makes good on his considerable promise.
     
Not only did he stumble in August, but he also had difficulty at times getting deeper into games because of a high pitch count.
     
"He did some really good work with Juan (Nieves, pitching coach) last year," said Farrell. "They adjusted his work in between starts, they adjusted his warmup routine, and we saw that efficiency play out. It took a little bit to get there, but then he got on a little bit of a roll.
     
"When you start to evaluate him and the strengths that he has -- a lefty who throws in the mid-90s, he's got a swing-and-miss changeup...a lot going for him. When he goes to the mound with his best stuff, he can pitch with anybody in this league."
     
The trick, this season, is for him to do it more often, and for longer.