Minor League notebook

Things looking up for Bowden

He has improved chances of recall

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 25, 2010

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The Red Sox have already called up six pitchers from Pawtucket this season. Michael Bowden has not been among them.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t deserve it,’’ he said. “There was a while I was pitching like I had no idea what I was doing out there.’’

But that is starting to change. Bowden has allowed two earned runs over his last 14 1/3 innings and is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his last five starts. The strong stretch has dropped his season ERA from an unsightly 6.48 to 4.23 over 14 starts.

“I did a lot of mechanical work during the offseason and made some adjustments that are now paying off,’’ Bowden said. “It took me a lot longer to get comfortable repeating my delivery than I hoped. But the foundation is there now.’’

On Monday, Bowden matched up with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ace Ivan Nova in the first game between the Triple A Red Sox and Yankees this season. Bowden allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

“There’s always a little extra in those games because it’s the Red Sox and the Yankees,’’ he said. “They have a good team, and pitching well against them was a sign I’m going in the right direction.’’

Bowden’s status as a prospect has slipped a bit in the last year. But he is only 23 and still developing. He has become better at making adjustments to his delivery during games and limiting damage when he does put runners on base.

He also has shortened up his arm action, which has improved his control and kept his front side from flying open. “It’s satisfying to finally see results, because I was really struggling,’’ Bowden said. “I feel like I’m consistent now and I’m getting rid of the bad habits that hurt me.’’

Bowden has appeared in nine games for Boston going back to 2008. He has allowed 19 runs on 30 hits over 21 innings. But Bowden’s improving strikeout rate and ability to throw his fastball in the mid 90s could make him a candidate to join the bullpen this season.

“I definitely hope so,’’ he said. “I’ve been working on getting back there and helping that team win, in whatever role they put me in. I was in the bullpen at the end of last season and I learned a lot from that experience and I’d be comfortable if that is what they want me to do.’’

Inevitably, the Red Sox will need more pitchers from Pawtucket this season. Bowden hopes he has put himself in the conversation for a call up.

“I’m a guy who believes you have to earn your way, and I wasn’t doing that before,’’ he said. “But I think now I’m showing everybody what I can do. I’m turning it around and hopefully something opens up for me.’’

Caught short
There was a time when the Sox seemed to have too many catching prospects. So much for that idea. Pawtucket is now using Gustavo Molina as its primary catcher and career minor leaguer Juan Apodaca as the backup after Dusty Brown was placed on the disabled list with ligament damage in his left thumb. Brown was sent to Boston to get checked out. The PawSox are already without Mark Wagner, who broke his left hand in April. Portland catcher Luis Exposito, who had a solid spring training, is hitting .249 with a .330 on-base percentage in the Eastern League and does not appear ready for a promotion.

First aid
The Sox signed first baseman Ryan Shealy to a minor league deal after he opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay this month. It has paid off for Pawtucket. The 30-year-old was 9 of 22 with a home run and four RBIs in his first seven games for the PawSox. Shealy has 164 games of major league experience and could prove helpful if the Sox trade Mike Lowell and need a backup for Kevin Youkilis . . . Keep an eye on Pawtucket righthander Robert Coello. The Golden League discovery has been lights out, allowing one run on five hits over 12 1/3 innings while striking out 19.

Wild, wild night
Lowell righthander Randy Consuegra had one of the all-time bad starts against Tri-Valley Monday. The 20-year-old from Colombia walked four, threw four wild pitches, hit a batter in the head, then was taken out of the game before getting so much as one out. He threw 4 of 22 pitches for strikes. “I feel sorry for the kid,’’ Spinners manager Bruce Crabbe told the Lowell Sun. The other remarkable part of the night was that righthander Keith Crouch, making his professional debut after being taken in the 13th round of the draft, warmed up in a hurry and threw five scoreless innings, allowing one hit without a walk and striking out three.

Coming attraction
Salem righthander Stolmy Pimentel was selected to play for the World Team in the Futures Games July 11 in Anaheim, Calif. The 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic is 5-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 14 starts. He has walked 19 in 67 innings while striking out 49. Pimentel signed for only $25,000 back in 2006 . . . Salem fell a game shy of sharing the first-half championship of the Southern Division of the Carolina League but was an impressive 42-28 at the break . . . Salem second baseman Oscar Tejeda homered for the Carolina League in the All-Star Game against the California League Tuesday. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway was 1 for 2 but Brock Huntzinger allowed two runs in his one inning of work. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks also made the team and was 0 for 2 . . . Lefty Hunter Jones, one of the pitchers traded to the Marlins for Jeremy Hermida, blew out his elbow and was released by the Marlins. But he was offered a contract for next season . . . The Boston Pops, joined by Kenny Loggins, will perform at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be obtained by calling (401) 724-7300 or via

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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