LOS ANGELES — On his first day in the Cubs’ clubhouse, Felix Doubront didn’t sound disgruntled. At least not anymore.
And the team’s newest pitcher disputed reports out of Boston that said he asked for a trade or that he looked “disinterested,” even as he pitched, after being demoted to the bullpen.
“I never said trade me or whatever,” said Doubront, the left-hander the Red Sox traded for a player to be named later after some of those reports hit the fan. “I was speaking like, I wasn’t feeling good in the bullpen, and I had been a starter. But I never said trade me.”
But even Doubront, 26, admitted he wasn’t surprised by the trade. He looks at it as a new opportunity with a new organization that is familiar with some of his best years — and that has promised him an opportunity to start.
“It’s a new beginning and a new journey right here,” said Doubront, who won 11 games for the World Series champions last year, making two key relief appearances during the Series after moving to the bullpen in the postseason. “I’m happy to be here and an important part of this team, and to be a starter is most important for me.”
Doubront might not see the mound for the Cubs for another month or so. On Friday, he was added to the 25-man roster, then put on the 15-day disabled list because of a sore calf. He is expected to spend two weeks on therapy, then get stretched out on a minor-league rehab assignment before joining the rotation.
“Seemed like a guy that needed a change of scenery,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “He’s obviously got potential. He’s left-handed, has good stuff, and hopefully we can bring out the best in him.”
What about the suggestions he was disinterested once he got used in relief?
“Not really,” Doubront said. “That was the day I gave up like six runs [on Sunday], and in that moment I talked with the manager… I go 100 percent. It was a bad day for me. And I don’t think I went there to give up six runs. ”
Now he sees himself becoming a part of the competitive turnaround for the Cubs.
“What’s important is it’s not going to take too long for this to be a competitive team,” he said, “and I want to be here for that.”
The Cubs called up infielder Chris Valaika from Class AAA Iowa to take the place of traded utility man Emilio Bonifacio.
◆ Right-hander Blake Parker rejoined the staff from Iowa after Doubront was put on the DL.