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Encouraging step forward for Doubront

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 18, 2011 11:38 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Felix Doubront is likely to play a significant role on the 2011 Red Sox, either as a starter or reliever. But the 23-year-old lefty has been almost invisible in camp.

A tight elbow sidelined him for several weeks and he returned to action incrementally. But there was a big step forward today as he threw 30 pitches of batting practice.

Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington, Terry Francona, Curt Young, Dave Magadan, Luis Tiant and three reporters comprised the crowd at the back field as Doubront threw to a trio of minor leaguers.

"I feel great," said Doubront, who threw a fastball, curve and change but not his cutter. "It was pretty good."

As for his elbow, Doubront said there is "nothing there" in terms of discomfort.

"I feel good. My arm speed, my body. My arm feels great."

Doubront will throw again Monday, more of a simulated game. From there, he will pitch in a minor league game. It is uncertain if he will pitch for the major league team before camp breaks.

"He's in the process to get his arm back. He felt 100 percent today, so that's encouraging," Young said.

Doubront would have competed for a spot in the bullpen had he been healthy. But he's not discouraged.

"I can't control that," he said. "I just want to be healthy wherever I'm going to be. I want to finish in the big leagues."

(The photo is of Felix talking to Luis Tiant after he was done pitching. El Tiante has taken an avid interest in the lefty and talks to him often.)

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