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Doubront positioned to make big league debut

06.15.10 at 11:18 pm ET
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Left-hander Felix Doubront is likely to make his big league debut for the Red Sox on Friday. (DVM Sports, courtest Portland Sea Dogs)

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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