The Boston Red Sox reported yesterday that left-hander Felix Doubront will delay his start of full workouts due to what is being described as a weak pitching shoulder. Doubront is the third Red Sox pitcher to be shut down this week, joining Clay Buchholz (hamstring) and Craig Breslow (shoulder).
It’s not quite time to hit the panic button here, as manager John Farrell deems these measures as merely precautionary, but the injuries do emphasize the perceived lack of depth in the Red Sox rotation. With John Lackey returning from elbow surgery, Jon Lester coming off his worst season as a pro, and Josh Beckett no longer with the team, all eyes will be on the starting five—and rightfully so.
As the number five starter, Doubront will be counted on by the Red Sox to build upon his 2012 campaign. Before hitting a wall toward the end of the season, Doubront was able to rack up 161 innings on the mound last year. He ended the season with an 11-10 record and a 4.86 ERA, while averaging 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings—tops on the club among starters.
As far as depth goes, the Red Sox do have Alfredo Aceves and Franklin Morales that can spot-start when needed. As of now, both are slated to pitch out of the bullpen to start the season. Boston also has high hopes for 22-year-old Matt Barnes (7-5, 2.86 ERA in Single A last year), but he’s not expected to make an impact in the early going.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)