FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two of the three pitchers in competition for a rotation spot — Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront — pitched well in their respective games today.
Aceves gave up two runs, one earned, in six innings against Toronto. He scattered three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Although the Toronto lineup had only one expected starter, it was a big improvement for Aceves after he allowed nine runs in three innings against the Phillies on Saturday.
For the first time this spring, Aceves admitted his goal was to be in the rotation.
“It’s like a dream to start,” Aceves said. “Obviously I have dreams, of course. It’s something that every single pitcher tries to be. … I don’t come to play without reason.”
Aceves said he would be not disappointed to return to the bullpen.
“No, you know why? Because it’s hard to get a job. This job is really is really unique,” he said. “I think, looking at on the other hand, we have to be glad to get a job to play with the Red Sox.”
Manager Bobby Valentine has not said who the final two starters will be.
“I think [Aceves] is one of the better pitchers that we have in camp,” he said. “He’s pitched well.”
Doubront pitched six shutout innings for Single-A Salem against Minnesota prospects. He allowed two hits, waked one and struck out four while throwing 87 pitches.
Doubront has had a strong camp and seems to have an inside track on one of the rotation spots. He allowed only five earned runs in 16.2 innings in major league games.
“Pretty much 100 percent, all my pitches are great,” he said when asked how good he feels. “I did the best I can.”
Valentine has lauded Doubront for how good he has looked since the start of camp. But Doubront said he didn't do anything special over the winter other than continuing to play baseball and softball games with his friends and family and throwing three days a week.
Doubront said he plays first base in softball and can hit. "Home runs," he said proudly while holding his 4-year-old son, Noah.
Daniel Bard, the other contender, will start against the Twins on Friday. The expectation is for him to throw 85 pitches and get deep into the game.
Based on how they've used the pitchers and comments from various team officials, Doubront and Bard appear to have an inside track on the rotation spots. That Aceves can be used in different bullpen roles may work against his dream to be a starter but prove too valuable for the team to give up.