Prince Felix is Getting Close…and Nava’s Horoscope Was Accurate

When Rich Hill suffered his season-ending elbow injury, Felix Doubront had just returned to Pawtucket’s active roster after a stint on the disabled list.  If he hadn’t been recovering from a groin injury, Doubront probably would have replaced Hill as the left-hander in Boston’s bullpen instead of Tommy Hottovy.

“Yea, it crossed my mind but things happen for a reason,” Doubront told me.  “I feel good for Tommy Hottovy and I’m just trying to get healthy.”

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

Doubront is getting close.  The 23-year-old has made three starts since coming off of the disabled list on May 30th, going 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA.  For the season at the Triple-A level, Felix has a 2.33 ERA in seven starts, with 30 strikeouts in 27 IP.

“My leg feels pretty good,” Doubront said.  “It’s not completely ready, but it is a lot better.  I feel like all of my pitches are working and my delivery is pretty good.  Everything is working now.  I can throw all of my pitches for strikes and I can do a lot of damage with those pitches.”

Felix gives the Red Sox an excellent weapon in Pawtucket since he provides depth for Boston’s starting rotation or can be used as a left-handed reliever.  He’s almost certain to be in the big leagues when rosters expand in September – if not sooner.

“They told me that I have to get ready for the end of the season and to get ready to help the team in Boston,” Doubront said. 

This coming Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Doubront’s major league debut.  On June 18, 2010, Felix allowed 3 ER in 5 IP to beat the LA Dodgers 10-6 in Manny Ramirez’s first game back at Fenway Park after being traded by Boston.  The crowd included Roger Clemens who watched from the Green Monster Seats.

“That was a great moment,” Doubront said.  “I finally accomplished my first goal which was to get to the big leagues.  I didn’t know until I saw the highlights the next day and I said, ‘Oh my God – Roger Clemens was there.’  It was pretty cool.”

Felix was named the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and established himself as one of the organization’s top prospects.  His countryman Felix Hernandez of the Mariners is known as “King Felix”…so what should we call Felix Doubront?

“The Prince,” Doubront said with a laugh.  “A couple of friends call me Prince.  I like it.” 

* * * * *

Daniel Nava is a pisces and on Sunday his horoscope said, “Let yourself dream today.”

I could have told him that without consulting stars or planets – it was June 12th.

Last year on that date, Nava belted a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues and added a double in his major league debut.

Yesterday (June 12th), he led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run and added a single in his second at-bat.

For the fun of it, I decided to see how Nava had done on June 12th in previous seasons.

In 2009 at High-A Salem, Daniel went 3-for-3 with a double and 2 walks.

In 2008, Nava entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Single-A Lancaster and had a walk, RBI, and scored a run.

Since joining the Red Sox organization, Nava’s career totals on June 12th are 7-for-11 (.636) with 2 2B, 2 HR, and 6 RBI.

I couldn’t find day-to-day records for the 2007 Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League, but something tells me that Nava had a great game on June 12th.

* * * * *

Best of luck to Michael McKenry who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday night for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The Pirates are hurting for help behind the plate after injuries to Chris Snyder, Ryan Doumit, and Jason Jaramillo.  Former PawSox catcher Dusty Brown is currently the primary catcher for the Pirates, but is 2-for-21 in his first 8 games.  His backup, Wyatt Toregas, was 1-for-29 for Triple-A Indianapolis at the time of his promotion.

No word yet on who will replace McKenry on Pawtucket’s roster, but Kevin Thomas who covers the Portland Sea Dogs for the Portland Press Herald, speculated this morning that Ryan Lavarnway will get the call.  I wrote about Lavarnway in February.

* * * * *

After snapping a 4-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Charlotte on Sunday, the PawSox look to make it two wins in a row as they host the Knights on Monday at 6:05.  The start time was moved up one hour due to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 5:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

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