FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Felix Doubront spoke with Pedro Martinez Monday and looks forward to working with the pitching legend.
"He just reminded me how to throw the ball and that long toss is important -- little things like that,'' said Doubront. "On Wednesday he's going to be there for my side and we'll talk a little more.''
Doubront said Martinez stressed the mental side of the game and how important it is to have the right approach.
"All the time,'' he said. "The mental part is a big part of going through the season. It's tough. He said the first half is all physical, but the second half is tough. It's more mental.''
Doubront recalls watching Martinez pitch and said he intends to "pick up everything he gives me. He's still the man. He can help you with big things and little things. I want to pick up everything he's going to teach me.''
The lefty hopes to learn from Martinez's "toughness and the attitude he has on the mound. He would battle through innings.''
Doubront is scheduled for a side session Wednesday, to be followed by another a few days later and finally a live batting practice session. His exhibition debut, he estimated, is probably about 10 days away.
He said the shoulder is "real strong. But the test is Wednesday.''
The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.
The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.
Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:
"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."
After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.
HOUSTON - Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.
After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.
Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.