Hideki Okajima up; Felix Doubront down

BOSTON -- The Red Sox recalled left-hander Hideki Okajima from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned rookie left-hander Felix Doubront there before Monday's matinee.

Okajima, who had spent the previous four years in Boston, was beat out for the final bullpen spot this spring by Dennys Reyes, who had control problems and was designated for assignment April 8. Reyes cleared waivers and is in extended spring training.

"Of course I wasn't happy," Okajima said through translator Jeff Cutler. "It's not something to think about now. I'm here now and I have to concentrate on that."

The 35-year-old pitched well for the PawSox, not allowing a run in 5 2/3 innings, spread over five appearances. He gave up only two hits and fanned five. Okajima said he has worked on his cutter, hopefully a pitch that will make him more effective against right-handed hitters.

"Oki threw the ball very well in Triple A," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He went down and instead of pouting and feeling sorry for himself he threw the ball well and got a lot of people out. I know it was Triple A, but that's what we asked him to do. When he's going good, he can be a solid, reliable pitcher."

Okajima had three solid seasons for Boston before struggling last year. Plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness, he went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA. Okajima re-signed with the Sox last winter as a free agent.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are high on the 23-year-old Doubront's ability, but he needs to pitch. A starter for virtually his entire career since signing with Boston in 2005, he was the lone left-handed reliever in the bullpen since being called up when Reyes was designated.

He appeared in only three games, though. Doubront allowed two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out one. He pitched two-thirds of an inning Sunday, giving up a hit and two walks before being pulled.

"When you're carrying only one lefty in the bullpen [as the Red Sox are], he [Doubront] is not a guy you want to get up and down a lot [warming up]," Francona said. "We'll also let him get stretched out as a starter for obvious depth reasons."

Steven Krasner is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com.