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Doubront to the bullpen

07.31.10 at 11:26 am ET
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According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox will shift starter Felix Doubront to the bullpen in hopes of bolstering their struggling relief corps. Earlier in July, the team had anticipated that the left-hander would remain stretched out in the Pawtucket starting rotation since he represents valuable depth for the major league starting staff. However, with the team’s ongoing bullpen struggles, the Sox have committed to shifting him to relief for the remainder of the year, a process that will begin immediately. According to the sources, Doubront’s shift to relief will occur regardless of whether the Sox make any moves to acquire bullpen help.

Doubront is 8-3 with a 2.88 ERA in the minors this year, and 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA in three big league starts. The 22-year-old has never made a relief appearance as a professional. In the majors, Doubront held lefties to a .158 average with a .396 OPS in 21 plate appearances. With the Sox lacking an effective lefty in the bullpen right now (given the struggles of Hideki Okajima), his potential to contribute as a reliever became increasingly appealing to the Sox, particularly given the available options on the trade market.

That said, the Sox still view the left-hander as a starter over the long term. They simply are trying to create options for the duration of a season in which the Sox bullpen features a 4.43 ERA, has allowed the most homers in the AL (43) while permitting the second most blown saves (14).

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