FORT MYERS, Fla. In two Grapefruit League outings, spanning 2 23 innings and eight batters, right-hander Michael Bowden has yet to give up a hit, a walk, or a run. He earned a save in his first outing, against the Orioles Tuesday. His performance led Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to say this after Bowdens perfect inning of work against the Pirates in the eighth inning Friday night:
I really liked Michael Bowden. His fastball was down in the zone, Im not sure of the speed because we dont have guns here but it looked like it was 91, 92. He had a good split working off of it. His split I saw it, from the side, but I had a pretty good perspective of things I think. Looked like it was a pitch that was very hard to recognize. I liked what I saw. Hes going to get more quality innings, move up in the game a little.
That kind of praise from a manger is what every player wants to hear. Especially a player, who made his big league debut in 2008 but is still trying to establish himself at the big league level.
It makes me feel great, Bowden said. Im glad that the person that matters, my manager, likes what he sees and wants me to get out there and continue throwing and show him what I can do.
Bowden has appeared in 37 big league games over the last four seasons, posting a record of 2-2 with a 5.75 ERA. After converting to the bullpen full-time in the second half of 2010, Bowden earned 16 saves for Triple-A Pawtucket last season, with a record of 3-3 (2.73) in 41 appearances.
Bowden was a first-round (47th overall) pick of the Sox in 2005. This is the first year he is out of options. Bowden is trying to keep his focus on the field.
I prepared for this spring training the exact same way as the last four spring training, he said. Coming in here, and for myself I believe Ive been competing for a job, even though that wasnt the case. But I think this year I really do have a chance and all I have to do is continue to prove that I can get outs and make quality pitches and do it consistently. Just do everything I can.
Im just worrying about what I can do. Just stay healthy, get better, work on what I need to work on so I can do my job every time out. If I worry about the stuff I cant control, thats just going to take me off my mindset. So I try not to worry about stuff like that. But theres a lot of spring left, a lot of stuff can happen. I know theres spots in the rotation for guys and if theyre not in the rotation, theyll be in the bullpen. So all I can worry about right now is just when I go out there every time I get the ball just do the best I can.