FORT MYERS, Fla. — Felix Doubront arrived at Red Sox camp last month claiming to be in the best shape of his career -- a familiar refrain in the early days of spring training for many players and not always an accurate one.
But the lefthander is proving it, a process that continued Wednesday when he threw 78 pitches in a minor league game at Fenway South.
As his teammates were enjoying a scheduled off day, Doubront pitched for Triple A Pawtucket against Minnesota Twins prospects. He went 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
On a warm day, Doubront threw 51 of his 78 pitches for strikes.
“I feel really good at this point," said Doubront. "All the work that I put in during the offseason and now I feel great."
Doubront is lined up to start the third game of the regular season, a sign of how much confidence the organization has in him.
Doubront was 11-6 with a 4.32 earned run average last season, pitching well for much of the year before wearing down and landing in the bullpen for the postseason. Now his goal is to get to 30 starts for the first time in his career and pitch at least 200 innings.
Doubront retired the first six batters before Brad Nelson pulled a ball down the line in right for a home run. Doubront allowed another run in the inning before retiring six in a row.
The final batter he faced, Brad Boyer, fouled off four pitches before drawing a walk. Doubront is tentatively scheduled to pitch again against the Yankees in Tampa Tuesday, although that could be pushed back a day to avoid a division opponent.
See Thursday's Globe for more on Doubront.