Minor Developments: Doubront's next steps, Workman's weapon and more

March 28, 2011 - 4:00 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Pawtucket rotation likely will feature Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, Brandon Duckworth, Matt Fox and Kyle Weiland to start the season on April 7, but left-hander Felix Doubront will join their ranks early thereafter. The 23-year-old was told that he likely will open the year on the disabled list. That said, after elbow stiffness set him back in late-Feb., he is reaching a point where he won't be far behind other prospects out of the gates. He will pitch two innings in a game on Tuesday and then spend seven to 10 days making another pair of appearances in Fort Myers. If all goes according to plan, he would then head to Pawtucket to take his turn in the rotation. Once stretched out, he will represent a versatile depth option for the Sox, capable of starting or relieving. "They're going to stretch me out to be ready," said Doubront, who impressed while forging a 4.32 ERA and striking out 23 batters in 25 innings in his major league debut last year. "I'll throw innings down in Pawtucket, and when they need me, I'm going to be there as a reliever or whatever." While Doubront's injury early in camp cost him a shot at a job in the Sox bullpen, it did have a silver lining. He was able to use the period of downtime to focus on his conditioning and strength, potentially putting him in a better position to withstand the rigors of a season that could last deep into Sept. or even Oct. Given that Doubront ended up being shut down last Sept., the pitcher is willing to trade an early-season injury for an ability to finish a major league season. "Thank God this happened now and not during the season," said Doubront. "I tried to do more shoulder program, work out everyday, no matter what. I used that time off to build my shoulder, my body, my legs. That was really good." --Right-hander Brandon Workman was positively nasty against some of the Red Sox' younger minor leaguers. In an inning of work, he splintered a pair of bats, showing off the vicious cutter that was his bread and butter at the University of Texas last year. --The Red Sox haven't ruled out having 19-year-old third baseman Garin Cecchini start the year at a full-season affiliate, but because he was not able to play in games at all last year while recovering from his knee surgery (without which he likely wouldn't have been available to the Sox in the first round, let alone where they got him in the fourth), the likelihood is that he will open the year in extended spring training. Though he has been wearing a knee brace this spring, he has not otherwise been limited. --Meanwhile, 2010 third-round pick Sean Coyle -- whom the Sox signed away from a commitment at UNC for $1.3 million -- seems like the most likely player drafted out of high school to begin the year with a full-season affiliate. One Red Sox evaluator called the 19-year-old second baseman -- who already shows surprising pop and excellent speed, particularly in light of his 5-foot-8 frame -- "very advanced." While the decision does not appear to be final, an assignment of Coyle to play in Greenville seems a very real possibility.