Like many teams, the Red Sox are the topic of trade deadline rumors centering on the club's need for help in the bullpen.
If the Sox make any acquisitions to help themselves on that front remains to be seen; however, the wheels continue to turn to create help within the organization.
Felix Doubront, the 23-year-old lefty who has made three starts at the major league level this year, was told Friday night that he would begin a transition to the bullpen in order to someday soon help the big club in that department.
Doubront's role change is akin to that of Michael Bowden, who was converted from a starter to a reliever at Triple-A Pawtucket last month and already received one quick call-up to Boston.
Both figure to be in the bullpen mix before the season ends.
"Everybody involved thinks this kid has a chance to impact us going forward this year in the bullpen," manager Terry Francona said of Doubront. "That in no way means … he's not going to be a starter, a major league starter. But I think for the rest of the year he has a chance to impact us out of the bullpen."
Doubront went 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA in his three starts with the Sox. He is 8-3 with a 2.88 ERA in 16 starts between Pawtucket and Double-A Portland.
He has impressed big league officials with his poise, not to mention plus-stuff that continues to improve as he refines his breaking ball and mixes in a brand-new cutter.
"He throws strikes, he's quick to the plate, the game doesn't speed up," Francona added. "There's nothing that doesn't [excite us about moving him to the bullpen]. The only thing is he hasn't done it."
Doubront will be given several relief appearances at the Triple-A level before being considered a candidate to help out the Sox.
Bowden, also 23, threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for the Sox earlier this month before being optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for the return of Clay Buchholz on July 23.
He has since resumed his reliever role and is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA overall out of the bullpen for the PawSox.
The pair will join the Red Sox' bullpen on September 1, at the latest. Their promotions could come sooner if the club stands pat at the trading deadline or shies away from any waiver-wire moves in August.