Doubront proves to be viable starter

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Doubront proves to be viable starter

BALTIMORE -- Felix Doubront would have preferred, of course, to finish his season with a win. But he succeeded in finishing strong.

Doubront fanned 10 in a 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, giving him double-digits in strikeouts for the second time in as many outings. With no more starts scheduled, Doubront will finish the year with an 11-10 record, and ERA of 4.86 and more strikeouts (167) than innings pitched (161).

Not bad for his first full season in the big leagues.

"I think he showed people he's a good pitcher,'' said Bobby Valentine. "I'm proud of the way he pitched all season and he should be proud of his first (full) season in the big leagues. I think he's a good pitcher. He has strikeout stuff.''

"What I'm seeing,'' added catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, "is a guy who's really maturing. It's his first year starting, he's a young kid. He's really just starting to mature and starting to go out there and see what he's all about. He knows he's good. He's just to go out there and continue to pitch well and that's exactly what he's done.''

Doubront finished with a flourish. In the last inning of his last start, with runners on second and third with one out, he fanned both J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones to strand the runners and finish with 10 strikeouts.

"Finishing this way was a good way to finish,'' Doubront said. "I had a lot of challenges and a lot of learning. It was a very good season for me, my first full year. I figured some things out for next season.''

The Sox, worried that Doubront was on schedule to pitch a career-high in inning, shut the tiring lefty down for a few weeks in August. He struggled some after the layoff, but in his final four starts, compiled an ERA of 3.07.

"I came to spring training to win that spot (in the rotation),'' he said, "and to finish the season strong was one of my goals. I'm tired, but I'm just going to keep working for next year.''

Valentine noted that Doubront got over a habit he battled earlier in the season, when he had a tendency to get ahead of hitters, then lose them.

He said pitching coach Randy Niemann has been working with Doubront to quicken his tempo, and that, too, has been improved.

"He's worked quicker and looked better,'' said Valentine. "When a young guy improves right up until the last day of the season, I think that's a good thing.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

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Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”