Doubront took his latest step forward Monday night by tossing 4 1/3 solid innings as Pawtucket torched the Gwinnett Braves, 9-2, at McCoy Stadium.
Doubront allowed four hits, one run and one walk replete with seven strikeouts. He threw 51 of 78 pitches for strikes.
“We’ve got to get him back in shape,” said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler referring to the fact Doubront missed most of March with an elbow injury and was optioned to Pawtucket on April 18 after making only three relief appearances with Boston. “He understands what’s going on.
“It would have been nice to have thrown him out there and let him finish the (fifth) and get him the win. But down the road, nobody will care about the first couple of months here. It’s all about getting him in shape and building him up.
“He had an arm injury,” continued Beyeler. “We’ve got to get him in shape and ready to go and see what happens.”
If Doubront hadn’t recorded so many strikeouts he would have pitched at least five innings and qualified for the victory.
“Every time he goes out there and gets more ‘up-downs’ that’s a step forward for him,” said Beyeler. “The result is whatever (the media) wants to make of it. But the goal for him is to get the ‘up-downs.’
“Sometimes being a guy that’s a strikeout pitcher like he is, it can be detrimental to him because he throws too many pitches striking out guys. But that’s part of it. We’re going to build him up and get him up to five or six innings, and get him up to around 100 pitches and have him ready to roll.”
The only run Doubront allowed in this game was a solo homer off the bat of Milken Ramirez in the second. But commencing with that inning, Doubront fanned five of seven Braves.
Beyeler yanked him in favor of Jason Rice with one on and one out in the fifth.
Rice (1-2) delivered a performance that underscored the strength of Pawtucket’s bullpen by blanking the Braves on three hits over 2 1/3 innings.
EXTRA BASES: Outfielder Ryan Kalish, who’s been on the disabled list since April 23 with a left shoulder injury, and infielder Yamaico Navarro, who’s been sidelined since May 8 with a strained right oblique muscle, aren’t close to returning.
“ ‘Yammy’ is still getting evaluated to see how serious that thing is,” said Beyeler. “It’s not going to be anytime real soon for him.
“Kalish is making progress. He’s not days away. He’s kind of week-to-week. He’s not throwing or hitting yet. But he has a lot of range of motion and, from what I understand, progressing ahead of schedule.”