Doubront insists fatigue not an issue

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Doubront insists fatigue not an issue

BOSTON Whatever his troubles have been recently, Felix Doubront insisted Saturday afternoon they are not because of fatigue.

No. Not at all, Doubront said. I think you saw what affects me now is confidence, something like that. Its not because Im tired. Its not tired. I feel good. My body feels good.

After Fridays loss, manager Bobby Valentine said the possibility of shutting down or resting Doubront would be discussed. Saturday afternoon, Valentine said that discussion had not taken place.

It would make sense if Doubront, who is 10-8, feels some fatigue at this point in the season. The left-hander has made 25 starts, spanning 134 23 innings this season, a drastic increase more than 50 percent -- over the 87 23 he threw last season.

Youd have to consider it but I know if he comes into next season and he gets to this high-water mark and everyone starts thinking about shutting him down again, its probably best if he feels good, to let that innings-pitched bar be as high as possible so he could extend it, Valentine said. As long as hes not going to be injured. You take that from him and the medical room and well see.

Earlier in the season, Doubront, who is in his first full big league season, was one of the more reliable and consistent pitchers in the Red Sox rotation. But, he has struggled mightily in his recent outings. He has said confidence has become an issue for him, which could be affected by his recent outings.

He took the loss Friday, falling to 10-8, as his ERA climbed to 5.21. He went four innings (plus one batter in the fifth), giving up five runs on six hits, including two home runs, and two walks with four strikeouts. It marked the fifth consecutive start, and sixth in his last seven, that Doubront has not been able to go more than five innings. He is 0-3 with a 9.70 ERA in that stretch. The last time he went longer was six innings on July 29 at Yankee Stadium. He has not won since July 18, seven starts ago.

He has also said concentration has become an issue.

Yeah. Sometimes I try to be too much perfect, Doubront said. Its one thing I can't control right now. I just want to get the hitter out and throw as many pitches as I can and they start fouling off thats the only thing I have to control: finish the hitter in three or four pitches. Im throwing too many pitches to get one hitter out.

One of the issues could be strikeouts. Doubront has a 9.1 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio. If he had enough innings to qualify, that number would put him fifth in the American League, behind Justin Verlanders 9.21. Is he trying too hard to get strikeouts, rather than just getting outs?

Sometimes thats a mental situation, he said. Thats a pitching mentality. You want to strike out a guy, get him out on one or two pitches. Its not working for me.

Home runs have also become an issue. In 25 starts has given up 22 home runs, including two on Friday.

Doubront is planning to make his next start, planning to do the same things he usually does before then. And hes not planning to be shut down.

When I feel tired Im going to let them know, he said. But Im not. Im just going to keep pitching, and like I said, figure it out, learn how to pitch, and thats it.

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.