OAKLAND -- Exactly a month after his last start in the big leagues, Felix Doubront will return to the rotation Friday night, having spent four weeks on the DL with a left shoulder strain.
Doubront made a couple of rehab starts for Pawtucket to prepare for his return, which may have come a bit sooner than expected thanks to the six-game suspension Brandon Workman began serving Wednesday.
Workman's turn in the rotation comes up Friday, but Doubront will slide into that spot.
"I'm excited to be back,'' said Doubront. "When I was in Pawtucket, I was able to pitch ahead in the count, throw my fastball and get the feeling for my velocity again and try to stay with one pitch. (Friday night) is going to be the same - do everything I know and try to get quick outs and get ahead of the hitters.''
"His last start (at Pawtucket) was much-improved in terms of overall stuff,'' said manager John Farrell. "There was increased intensity, increased velocity, increased action to his pitches.''
Doubront had a bloated 5.12 ERA with diminished velocity, causing the Sox to place him on the DL with an eye toward giving his shoulder some time to strengthen while also taking time to work on things on the side.
"I think the velocity is there,'' said Doubront. "My arm feels a lot better. The shoulder feels smooth and quick. The velocity is a process, but I feel the power. I don't want to overthrow, just be normal with my arm speed and tomorrow, we'll see what kind of velocity I have and try to throw strikes.''
Doubront said there wasn't a lot of work done to his mechanics, but rather, some fine-tuning to find a more consistent release point. At times earlier this season, his arm was lagging behind somewhat, leaving pitches up in the zone.
"The arm speed feels good,'' said Doubront, "but the mechanics are the same, nice and simple. I'm not trying to over-do anything. Just simple. My arm has to catch up to the front side. I'm trying to release the ball right in front of my face. That's the key -- just repeating my delivery and just pitch.''