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Red Sox pregame notes: Felix Doubront likely to return to rotation next weekend

09.14.13 at 11:28 am ET
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Felix Doubront will likely return to the Red Sox rotation next weekend against Toronto after being skipped this time around, manager John Farrell said before Saturday’s game. Doubront had lasted four innings or less in four of his last six starts before being given some rest.

“This was more about, we felt like, a need just from the physical standpoint,” Farrell said. “There wasn’t anything glaring inside the last five or six starts that he made. It was just a lack on consistency. To me, that looked like fatigue.”

Farrell said Doubront will throw a side session on Sunday and a simulated game on Tuesday in preparation for his next start. The exact day of Doubront’s return hasn’t yet been determined.

Doubront is seven innings away from matching the career-high 161 innings he pitched last season. Farrell said that could be part of the reason for Doubront’s fatigue, but for his part, Doubront recently told WEEI.com that he hopes to throw 20-30 more innings this season.

Whether or not Doubront pitches for the Red Sox in the postseason remains to be seen. In that same interview, Doubront told WEEI.com that he doesn’t see himself as the best choice for a bullpen role.

But with Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy all pitching well, and Clay Buchholz looking strong in his first start back, Doubront’s only chance to make the playoff rotation would be if someone got hurt.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

-Farrell said he has “a range” he’d like to see Buchholz get to on Sunday in his second start since returning from injury, but he didn’t share a specific number.

“It would be great if he could go out and continue what he did down in Tampa,” Farrell said. “The stress of the pitches from the start to the end of his night will have as much bearing as the number of pitches thrown.”

-Farrell said Jacoby Ellsbury will go through more exercises on Saturday, but still not any baseball activities. He said there is still no timetable for Ellsbury’s return.

-The Red Sox’ 8 1/2 game lead in the division has allowed Farrell some flexibility when it comes to which relievers he uses in which situations, but he said he still sees the bullpen having more defined roles moving forward.

“I think if you look at where Junichi [Tazawa] has been pitching, it’s been pretty routinely in that eighth inning,” Farrell said. “We’ve had the need to mix and match when guys haven’t been available. There might be the perception that there aren’t any roles, but there are.”

One guy Farrell said will certainly be in the mix for not just a postseason spot in the bullpen, but potentially an important one, is Franklin Morales. The lefty has allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings since returning from injury.

“The velocity has kind of regained its previous levels over the last six or seven outings, for the first time this year,” Farrell said. “The one thing we’ve been able to do is bring him to the mound when he’s been fresh. You have to look past the bulk numbers on the year [a 5.03 ERA] and look at the last six or seven outings.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, felix doubront, franklin morales, Jacoby Ellsbury
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