03/15/2013 11:25 PM ET
Doubront looking to become more efficient
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront averaged 4.05 pitches per batter faced last season, second-worst in the American League for starters with at least 150 innings. That's meant a natural emphasis on efficiency and going after hitters this spring.
"Just try to throw three or four pitches, focus on three pitches," Doubront said. "In the beginning, [it] got a little bit difficult, but after hitter after hitter, I just want to go after it and finish the hitter in one pitch or two or three."
Doubront, 25, called last season "the year of experience." On Friday night, Doubront started a 5-0 win over the Twins with a walk, then settled in for four shutout innings. He gave up two hits, no further walks and struck out four on 68 pitches, 42 for strikes.
In 2012, he never completed more than seven innings.
"We talk about that, less pitches per batter," Doubront said of his conversations with pitching coach Juan Nieves. "Less pitches, and like I said before, last year was the year of experience, last year was throwing the ball, just throwing hard. Trying to hit that spot, this year with more experience, I just want to go after it and just throw the ball down there. That's what we're working for when the season starts."
Webster among prospects optioned on Friday
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The three cuts the Red Sox made on Friday before their second Grapefruit League game of the day included some buzz-worthy names.
Boston's prizes in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers last August, righties Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, were both optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while pea-throwing catcher Christian Vazquez was sent to Double-A Portland.
At the halfway point in March, and with 15 days left in Spring Training, the Sox have 47 players in camp, 13 of them non-roster invitees.
Webster, 23, is ranked the Red Sox No. 4 prospect by MLB.com. Manager John Farrell said Webster looked "pretty [darn] good" on Tuesday, when Webster threw three scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. He allowed two runs in 11 combined Grapefruit League innings.
On Tuesday, Farrell hadn't ruled out the possibility of giving Webster a start in big league camp.
De La Rosa, 24, gave up seven runs in a combined 6 2/3 innings. His first two outings were scoreless before he was roughed up by the Pirates and Marlins, the latter on Monday.
"You hear guys' names and you don't know to what extent their talents are, but considering the deal and seeing the two arms that were brought back, it makes the trade even, in the long run, that much more advantageous," Farrell said earlier in camp about the Dodgers trade. "Let's face it, we gave up some really talented players. We recognize that. Given where [general manager] Ben [Cherington] and others thought where we needed to go … to have that come back and be able to move that amount of money, it's a [heck] of a deal."
Vazquez, a 22-year-old who is ranked the organization's No. 16 prospect by MLB.com, drew attention for his lightning-quick throws to second base.
"Just outstanding feet, quick release, plenty of arm strength and accuracy," Farrell said after Vazquez pegged Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe at second on March 8. "This is probably the fourth guy he's cut down in Spring Training and all of the same variety. He's confident when he throws a baseball, and that shows in the accuracy and the quickness with which he releases the ball."
Vazquez was 3-for-10 with a double, a pair of walks and one strikeout in 11 spring games.
Ciriaco scratched, but Papi progressing
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Infielder Pedro Ciriaco was scratched from the Red Sox lineup Friday night before their second game of the day, a 5-0 win over the Twins, due to back spasms, adding to a list of ailing Sox players.
"We'll check him when he comes in tomorrow," Sox manager John Farrell said. "Hopefully, this isn't a long-term or multi-day deal. It just locked up on him during BP."
Earlier in the day, in a 3-3 road tie with Baltimore, Mitch Maier suffered a sprain wrist on a diving catch. He will be out at least a couple of days.
"Scans when he got back here to the ballpark didn't reveal any kind of fracture or anything like that," Farrell said. "We'll continue to monitor him, it's going to be a couple of days the way he rolled his wrist on that diving catch earlier today."
There was positive news regarding David Ortiz's right heel inflammation.
"Feels better," manager John Farrell told reporters on Friday morning. "Symptoms have decreased. So, the prescribed down days and the medication are having the effect we'd anticipated. Optimistically, we're looking at hopefully getting him back to taking BP on Monday. That would be at the end of that seven-day [shutdown] period."
Left-hander Franklin Morales was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back when he visited a doctor in Boston this week. Morales was treated with an epidural shot and is out indefinitely.
Stephen Drew had a positive result in an exertion test Friday as he tries to come back from a concussion.
"Went through the impact testing on the bike with exertion," Farrell said. "There was no increased symptoms and it didn't -- with the raised heart rate -- it didn't intensify the symptoms that he's currently feeling any worse. Right now, that's deemed as a positive. We'll continue to stay the course, but he's still a ways away from getting back on the field, but the one thing you're looking at in those tests is if it increases his symptoms, but in this case, it did not."
Craig Breslow (left shoulder) said on Friday that the day before, the last time he threw, "was the best throwing day I had." He's not aware of a timetable, though.
"No, I think it's probably as I tolerate these different stages, we can kind of lay out the next steps," Breslow said. "I'd like to think that there's ultimately a timetable that they probably have, but for me, I work best if I think, 'Oh, what do I have to do today?'"
O's trade Flacco, brother of QB, to Red Sox
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Flacco, the brother of Super Bowl champion quarterback Joe Flacco, is now in the Red Sox organization.
The Sox traded cash to the Orioles for Flacco on Friday. A 26-year-old first baseman from New Jersey, Flacco hit .214 in 107 games between High Class A and Double-A last season. The Orioles drafted him in the 31st round in 2009.
Mike Flacco reportedly considered trying to make it in his brother's sport, but the Orioles denied that.
"Mike had a few years with us and the Red Sox had some interest," Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said Friday, according to the Baltimore Sun. "And we thought this would be a better opportunity for him. We talk to clubs every day to see if we have a match, and on this one we had a match."
A 6-foot-6 right-handed batter, Flacco had a .324/.378/.459 line against lefties in Class A last season.