Experience on Doubront's side in 2013 season

Experience on Doubront's side in 2013 season
April 5, 2013, 11:45 am
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Felix Doubront will get his first start of the season tonight in Toronto. This will be the beginning of his second full season in the MLB.

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

TORONTO -- Felix Doubront enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, leading all Red Sox starters in strikeouts and tying for the team lead in wins.

Now, in his second full season in the big leagues and ready to make his 2013 debut, Doubront feels there's more for him to accomplish.

"I'm more experienced, so you know what's around you,'' said Doubront in anticipation of facing the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night at Rogers Centre. "I'm more relaxed. I know what to do and I keep learning every day. The second year is going to be a challenge; it's always a challenge. But I'm more experienced, too.''

With the benefit of a full season behind him, Doubront has a better idea of what to expect and more knowledge of the league and its hitters.

"I know everyone better,'' he said."What pitch can do more damage. It's more mental. That's going to be a big part of my season and to learn more.''

One thing Doubront hopes to improve is his pitch efficiency. Too often last year, Doubront's pitch count would climb in the middle innings, making it tough for him to get into the seventh and eighth innings with any consistency.

The Red Sox have stressed the importance of attacking hitters and trusting his stuff more and Doubront is eager to show an ability to get deeper into games.

"Get more quick outs - that's the goal,'' said the lefty."If I can do that, everything will be better: the numbers, the strikeout percentage, more innings, deeper into the game. If I just do that, all the other things will be taken care of.''

Doubront insists that he's "always aggressive'' but some mechanical issues caused him to yank pitches out of the strike zone, resulting in deeper counts, higher pitch counts and shorter outings.

"Sometimes,'' he added, "I tried to make the perfect pitch. But it's not about that. It's (about having) an aggressive approach. Throw the ball and see what happens. We've got a good defense, our offense is great. I'm just going to just throw the ball and make quality pitches.''

In the last two seasons, Doubront has worked with three pitching coaches -- Curt Young in 2011 and Bob McClure and Randy Niemann in 2012. This season, he's formed a good relationship with Juan Nieves.

"You want to hear everything he has to say,''said Doubront."Sometimes it's just a little thing, one word that you put in your mind. He might say 'Let's try this, just for today.' You have to figure it out, because you're your own pitching coach. But with him, with him, it's like having two pitching coaches and he's going to help me with adjustments, and get better and better."

"He's always looking for that edge, to help you take that next step.''