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BOS@MIN: Doubront blanks Twins in final spring start

BALTIMORE -- Felix Doubront knows that he can't have another season in which he merely shows glimpses of the type of pitcher he can be.

This season, Doubront knows that he has to display consistency and durability.

Behind the lefty, the Red Sox will try to take Thursday night's rubber match from the Orioles at Camden Yards.

"This is a big year for me," said Doubront. "I know that and I went into the offseason thinking that I have to be strong mentally and physically and try to be healthy the whole year. You never know what's going to happen, but you have to be prepared."

Baltimore counters with a lefty also hoping to come into his own in Wei-Yin Chen.

"We pitched pretty well the last two games, but you're going to have to pitch real well to compete with them," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "That's why they were the last team standing last year. They're a good club and everything, but they pitch real well."

If Doubront can get close to the level of Boston's four veteran starters, the rotation could be elite.

"I can use all the experiences I have from last year and put into this year. It starts [today]," Doubront said. "I have to go out there and have fun and try to do better than years before."

Doubront will try to cool off new O's slugger Nelson Cruz, who homered in the first two games of the series.

Red Sox: Pedroia starts hot
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has come out blazing this season, going 6-for-10 over the first two games. In Wednesday's 6-2 win over the Orioles, the man known as "Laser Show" went 4-for-5.

"We're just trying to do what we do," said Pedroia. "Not put too much pressure on ourselves. My job is to get on."

Of course, Pedroia's job is also to make brilliant plays, one of which he made Wednesday to rob J.J. Hardy of a hit on a brilliant stab up the middle.

"He's a special player. He's playing hard all the time," said Red Sox right-hander John Lackey. "He got a bunch of knocks today. That was an unbelievable play by a Gold Glove caliber player."

Orioles: Britton hoping for prominent role in 'pen
Almost exclusively a starter until this season, lefty Zach Britton is determined to make the most of his move to the bullpen.

In Monday's opener against the Red Sox, Britton got six important outs to earn the win.

"I want to be a guy who is going to pitch late in games," Britton said.

Britton will be able to earn that chance. Aside from closer Tommy Hunter, the roles in manager Buck Showalter's bullpen are still evolving.

"I don't want to be a guy who is only pitching when we're losing or way ahead," said Britton. "That's no fun. To me, I want to be a guy [Showalter] trusts out there to come out there with the game on the line and pitch well. So that's kind of my goal. We don't have defined roles so maybe a little later on in the year, he has that trust in me to come in later in the game."

Worth noting
• Red Sox lefty reliever Craig Breslow will pitch for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday and Friday and perhaps be activated by the end of the weekend.

• Showalter said that Jonathan Schoop will see most of his playing time at second base.

• Pedroia's four-hit game on Wednesday was his first since Aug. 23, 2012. Comments