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.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Hanley Ramirez's shoulder already a concern for Red Sox heading into WBC

Hanley Ramirez's shoulder already a concern for Red Sox heading into WBC

Another year, another injury concern for Hanley Ramirez. This time, though, it's a bit more complicated.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told the media Monday that Ramirez hadn't played any first base during spring training yet due to discomfort in his right throwing shoulder.

“Well, we’re working through ramping up his throwing program,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. “That has taken a little bit more time than anticipated coming in so we’ve got to kind of take that day to day how much we can increase the intensity with the throwing. He’s just working through some soreness with the throwing.”

As Bradford points out, Ramirez and the Red Sox went through the same process last year. Where it differs this time around is Ramirez's scheduled participation in the World Baseball Classic: He's expected to report to Team Domincan Republic on Friday, which means the Red Sox won't be monitoring his every move on the field (though the two training staffs will be communicating daily, also per Bradford).

Ramirez isn't the only first baseman on the roster, with the Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana there as well. So will Ramirez be jumping into game action anytime soon?

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. They haven’t told me anything,” Ramirez told WEEI.com “I’m just going to go there and see.”