Dubront answers bell in win over Royals

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Dubront answers bell in win over Royals

KANSAS CITY -- After going 17 innings Sunday and using nine different pitchers, the Red Sox needed Felix Doubront to take them relatively deep into their road trip opener Monday night.

But Bobby Valentine didn't like the way Doubront's night started.

After issuing a two-out walk to Billy Butler in the first inning, Doubront glared at home plate umpire Tim Tschida, believing the crew chief missed two pitches that should have been strikes.

That was enough to spring Valentine from the dugout.

"I think our starting pitchers are maybe falling into a habit that I don't want to see," explained Valentine, "complaining about the umpire. I went out and tried to put a stop to it before it spread.

"A couple of pitches were close and he stood there and looked at the umpire. That's not the way we're going to start this stuff."

After that, Doubront settled in.

"I focused more and forgot about those calls," said Doubront.

He knew from the beginning that the Red Sox were depending on him to give them some length.

"That was one of my goals," acknowledged Doubront, who improved to 2-1. "I tried to get the most innings I could and battle to the end."

Doubront was done in by some suspect defense. In the second, he allowed two runs, in part because Marlon Byrd couldn't track a fly ball to warning track, allowing a double. In the third, a throwing error by Will Middlebrooks helped set up another two-run inning.

But after Middlebrooks' errant throw, Doubront retired 12 of the next 12 hitters he faced.

"Felix was excellent," said Valentine. "He gave us exactly what we needed. He was efficient. He was right on (course). That's what we needed."

Even in the seventh, when his pitch count carried over 100 and reached 111 -- a career high -- on the final pitch, Doubront wasn't hit hard. The Royals pieced together three singles and a walk to force him from the game, but two of the single weren't hard hit.

"I think every outing, I learn more," he said. "It's good experience. I'm going to have more and more situations like this."

"I thought he threw the ball great," said catcher Kelly Shoppach. "His line is not going to show how well he threw the ball. A couple of goofy things (happened) early -- he really could have got out of there with two or three runs. He was actually more crisp as the game went on. He had more life on his fastball.

"I thought his last four innings were as good as he's thrown."

The Sox are now 4-2 in Doubront's six starts and should be 5-1 had they not blown a 9-1 lead he left for them in the team's infamous April 21 epic bullpen meltdown against the Yankees.

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.  

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the team, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported.

Bradley, who turns 27 April 19, had his best season in 2016, hitting .267 with 26 homers and a league-best 29-game hitting streak. He also won his first Gold Glove. A Scott Boras client, Bradley isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020. 
 
Friday at 1 p.m. was the deadline to reach deals to avoid arbitration. 

Other arbitration-eligible Red Sox are infielders Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad, right-handers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross and Tyler Thornburg and catcher Sandy Leon.