BOSTON — Felix Doubront’s trip to the 15-day disabled list leaves a hole in the Red Sox’s rotation.
Doubront landed on the DL on Wednesday with a left shoulder strain. It’s unclear who will take Doubront’s spot in the rotation the next turn through, but Red Sox manager John Farrell pointed to Brandon Workman and Allen Webster as two candidates.
Workman and Webster both have major league experience. Workman, who made his big league debut as a starter, became a key cog in Boston’s bullpen at the tail end of last season. Webster made eight major league appearances (seven starts) but struggled for the most part. Workman also made three appearances with Boston earlier this season.
Workman owns a 5.12 ERA in seven starts with Pawtucket this season. His biggest flaw has been the long ball, as the 25-year-old has surrendered eight home runs in 38 2/3 innings — equating to a career-high 1.9 home runs per nine innings.
Still, despite Workman’s issues with keeping the ball in the yard this season, the right-hander has left a lasting impression on the Red Sox’s coaching staff during his time at the major league level. Farrell and Co. have a lot of trust in Workman, so it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if he gets the nod in Doubront’s absence.
Webster, however, has pitched very well at Pawtucket this season, and there’s no denying his impressive stuff. The 24-year-old owns a 2.47 ERA over 10 starts with the PawSox, making him Pawtucket’s most consistent starter to this point.
“I think the most important thing is we’ve got a group of pitchers that have made their debut, they’ve had experience here and they’re talented and they throw the ball well,” Farrell said Wednesday.
The Red Sox, theoretically, could shift Chris Capuano from the bullpen to the starting rotation, where he has spent much of his major league career. Capuano has thrived in a relief role, though, and the transition is easier said than done.
“I think we’re a little bit too far past his last extended work,” Farrell said of Capuano. “We feel comfortable with 50, 55 pitches with him, but at this point, we’ve got other options that are further stretched out.”
Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes represent other minor league options for the Red Sox. It appears Workman and Webster are the two primary candidates, though, and whichever pitcher gets the nod likely will be awarded the two or three starts Doubront is expected to miss.
“What I wouldn’t want is to suggest (matchup-based starters), and then the pitcher that does come up is looking over his shoulder like, ‘Am I going out after an outing?,’ Farrell said. “We would look to make the move and stay with it.”
Doubront, who left Tuesday’s start against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning, is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA in nine starts this season.