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Doubront positioned to make big league debut

06.15.10 at 11:18 pm ET
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The decision isn’t final, but in all likelihood, the big league unveiling of Red Sox pitching prospect Felix Doubront will take place on Friday.

The 22-year-old, according to a team source, is the front-runner to be brought up to Boston from Triple-A Pawtucket to make a spot start in place of right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who went on the 15-day disabled list just prior to the start of Saturday’s game with a strained forearm. Doubront was activated by the PawSox on Tuesday, following a brief spell on the seven-day D.L. with a shin contusion.

Doubront has positioned himself for a callup with a dominant performance thus far in 2009. He started the year back in Double-A Portland, where he forged a 4-0 record with a 2.51 ERA, and then proved even more effective with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts. Between those two stops, he has struck out 54 and walked 22 in 59 2/3 innings.

“Doubie’s been lights out, man,” said Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who was in Pawtucket for all four of Doubront’s starts. “I’€™m really impressed with him. Obviously, he’€™s got good stuff and an idea of what to do with that, but his poise on the mound is something that, when you play behind him, he exudes a quiet confidence.”

That trait was particularly evident in Doubront’s last outing, against Reds top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman, the heralded pitcher with a 101 mph fastball who signed out of Cuba this winter for more than $30 million. Doubront allowed one run on five hits in five innings, and struck out five. The PawSox, on a day when Chapman apparently did not have his best stuff, jumped on the Reds’ prize hurler for seven runs in the first two innings.

“When we went out and [Doubront] faced Chapman in Louisville, their stud lefty vs. our stud lefty, he rose up to that challenge,” said Nava. “That was something that made us all just say, ‘€˜We would love to have you on the bump against anybody.’€™”

It was the same poise that Doubront exhibited in 2009, when he pitched at Fenway Park for Portland in a Futures at Fenway contest. That day, Doubront logged four scoreless innings before tiring in the fifth, when he gave up a two-run homer in a no-decision. Still, with seven punchouts that day, the left-hander offered an indication of his ability to embrace a spotlight start.

“With pressure, I think he thrives on it. He seems to be ready. He’€™s young, but he handles himself very well,” said Sox reliever Dustin Richardson, who pitched with Doubront at three stops, in 2007 with Single-A Greenville, in 2009 with Portland and this year with Pawtucket. “That’€™s what you want from a starter ‘€“ a guy with three pitches who seems like he’€™s going deep in games pretty consistently. He’€™s doing well right now. I can definitely see him coming up and helping the team.”

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