LOS ANGELES – Felix Doubront got what he wanted, the chance to start – and start over – with the Cubs. But he denied asking to be traded from the Boston Red Sox.
“No,” Doubront said Friday at Dodger Stadium. “I never said ‘trade me’ or whatever. I was just saying that I wasn’t feeling good in the bullpen. I’ve been a starter. But I never said ‘trade me.’”
Only nine months after helping the Red Sox win the World Series, Doubront understands this could be very good for his career. The Cubs placed the 26-year-old lefty on the disabled list with a calf strain and will give him a spot in the rotation at some point in late August or September, letting him audition for the future.
[MORE CUBS: Cubs deal Russell, Bonifacio to Braves]
“I’m going to start a new journey,” Doubront said. “I want to be here. I’m happy to be here.”
Doubront became unhappy at Fenway Park, where he got two outs and gave up six runs in Monday’s 14-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. “Disinterested” became the postgame buzzword.
“I’m never going to go out there (like that),” Doubront said. “I go 100 percent. It was a bad day. It was a bad day for me. I don’t think I went out there to give up six runs. Never. I would never do that.”
Within 48 hours, the Cubs had acquired Doubront for a player to be named later. Doubront has spoken with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, the Red Sox GM when he emerged as Boston’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2010.
“I like to feel a part of this building process,” Doubront said. “They’re giving me a chance to be what I want to be. … This is going to be a competitive team and I’m going to be here for that.”
Doubront won 11 games and made at least 27 starts in 2012 and 2013. He put up a 6.07 ERA this year as the Red Sox morphed into a last-place team and underwent an extreme makeover.
“Sometimes guys need a change of scenery,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said. “He’s been pitching in the American League East. He’s had parts of his career, moments in his career, where he’s pitched really well.
“Obviously, he’s been struggling. That’s no secret to us. Sometimes (with) maybe different coaches, different ballpark, different league, you hope that clicks together. He’s obviously got potential.
“Hopefully, we can bring out the best in him.”
The defending champs now look nothing like the team that went worst-to-first and stormed through October. But even with the Red Sox trading away Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy, Doubront had already been passed by the next wave of pitching prospects about to hit Boston.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Doubront said. “The important thing is I’m here.”