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Red Sox groom RHP Michael Bowden for relief role

Jul 7, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT

With little relief available on the trade market at the moment, the Red Sox have decided to look within the organization for setup help. Long-time pitching prospect Michael Bowden was shifted from the rotation to the pen this week, with an eye towards a promotion to the majors after the All-Star break.
It certainly wasn’t a demotion for Bowden. His overall line for Triple-A Pawtucket isn’t particularly impressive — he’s 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA and a 59/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings — but he had allowed just four runs over 28 innings in his last four starts.
Bowden’s upside, though, has always been questioned, even during the times in which he’s dominated in the minors. As a flyball pitcher with a modest strikeout rate, his margin for error is pretty small. His low-90s fastball, slider and changeup are all legitimate major league pitches, but he lacks a standout offering. That could change if a move to the pen results in an increase in velocity.
The Red Sox will probably have Bowden make 8-10 relief appearances for Pawtucket this month before deciding whether he’s ready to help the big-league club. If he impresses, it could allow the team to focus elsewhere when the trade deadline comes.

  1. JBerardi - Jul 7, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    “It certainly wasn’t a demotion for Bowden. His overall line for Triple-A Pawtucket isn’t particularly impressive — he’s 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA and a 59/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings — but he had allowed just four runs over 28 innings in his last four starts.”

    It would be noted that this isn’t just a random hot streak. Bowden was absolutely awful for the first six week or so, then significantly altered his mechanics, and has been pitching much better since. He still doesn’t look like a major league starter (low K rate, flyball pitcher) to me, but he’s at least doing well enough to think he could be valuable as a reliever.

  2. quint - Jul 8, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    When your choice is relief for the Red Sox or starting for the Pirates or something, I think its a good promotion.
    I bet you Masterson would rather be in the Sox bullpen.
    Hey Theo, get Masterson back!!!

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