He entered Fort Myers out of options. He entered Fort Myers plagued by an injury-riddled season in 2011. And now, he's in position to possibly leave Fort Myers in the Red Sox rotation.
When pitching coach Bob McClure first inherited Doubront in February, he believed the pitcher was oozing with potential. Six weeks later, McClure appears more convinced than ever before.
"I think this is his time, it could be his time," McClure told NESN.com. "I think he's hungry and he's showing us. He's performed well this spring training. I'm proud of him and I'm happy for him so far. Nothing's been decided, but I like what I've seen."
Nothing has been decided, officially. But judging by McClure's comments –– and Doubront's 2.70 ERA and 1.44 WHIP through four Grapefruit League starts –– it's only a matter of time.
Doubront offered more reasons for the staff to make the announcement. In a minor league game Thursday, the lefty tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while fanning four batters.
It was his last start of the spring. Following the outing, Doubront marched onto the bench outside the Red Sox clubhouse with a noticeable grin. He smiled when asked about the prospects of winning a starting job.
"I'm pretty confident," Doubront said. "I'm waiting for that talk."
That talk –– if you haven't figured it out by now –– is the conversation to announce he's been added to the Red Sox rotation. Quite frankly, he's been ready to have that discussion for some time.
After battling against Alex Rodriguez in a few long at-bats two weeks ago, Doubront said his plan was analyze how the Yankees slugger would react for "when" they reunite in the regular season.
Key word –– when. Not if.
"He's not intimidated by anything," McClure said. "He uses all his pitches. He's left-handed. He's done well."
The 24-year-old even sharpened up his cutter on Thursday. When asked if there was anything else he could've done this spring, Doubront answered "nothing."
He's been fueled by the fact he's out of options. He's altered his footwork to put the injuries behind him. And now, the left-hander from Carabobo, Venezuela is primed to walk out of Fort Myers in the Red Sox rotation.
"I've been working every day to get better and go through the sixth, seventh inning every day," Doubront said. "I've focused on that when I start. I'm working for it. I worked in my offseason. That's what I'm waiting for, the opportunity to show the people who's Felix Doubront."
As McClure said, that time could be now.
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