OUR FIRST LOOK AT BOWDEN

     It will be game five of the 2010 season on Monday night at McCoy Stadium.  Game time is 6:15 p.m.  The weather looks nice today so come on out to the yard and check out the Sox.  If things had broken a little differently over the weekend, Pawtucket could have easily swept the Rochester series. Be that as it may, tonight we get our first look of the season at righthander Michael Bowden.  Bowden, a workhorse in the gym, took a slightly different approach this offseason.  “I still worked as hard as I could, but I tried to “lean out” a little bit.  I maintained my strength, but I lost about 12 pounds,tried to come in a little leaner and a little more flexible.  I think it’s working for me.  I feel more comfortable and more fluid on the mound.  I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do out there.”  Bowden says that he and the Red Sox agreed the “new look” was a good idea.  “During the offseason I talked with John Farrell and (minor league pitching coordinator) Ralph Treuel.  I got to see myself on video a number of times.  I looked too mechanical, too robotic.  It looked like I was trying too hard on every pitch.  I know that’s not what I’m going for.  We talked about it and went through a lot of video of other pitchers.  I just took what I liked from them, and felt most comfortable with and incorporated those things into my delivery, and that’s just what I went with.”  Bowden has even extended the changes to his baseball uniform.  He used to wear his pant legs high, a la Jason Varitek.  Not anymore.  “I am a very traditional player and I never ever thought I’d wear my pants “down”.  A lot of guys told me that I looked like a stumpy Little Leaguer, and if I wore the pants down, I’d look a lot taller and intimidating out there.  For the first time this Spring Training, I tried it out and it was very comfortable.  I’m going to try to go with it this year.”

     Bowden joined the PawSox midway through the 2008 season.  At age 23 he is still the second youngest member of the club (Josh Reddick is the youngest).  With the abundance of starters the Red Sox have, Michael has to bide his time.  His maturity and poise come in handy.  “Of course I’d like to be up there, that’s my goal, and I believe I will be up there,  It’s just a matter of time and being ready when the opportunity strikes.  I know I just have to do my job down here and be ready when the chance arises and take advantage of the opportunity.”

     With Major Leaguers like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Boof Bonser rehabbing in Pawtucket, it has thrown off the regular rotation.  Bowden is chomping at the bit to get on the mound tonight.  “It feels like weeks since I last threw.  I threw last Tuesday in Fort Myers (in an exhibition game against the Czech National team), I’ve spent five days here, so I’m very excited to get on the mound.”  Michael has set a very attainable goal for his first start.  “I just want to be efficient enough to last 5 innings and throw 75-80 pitches.”

     I know he’s looking forward to the first start of the seaason.  I’m eagerly anticipating it, too.  Come on out to McCoy tonight and watch, or if you can’t, listen to Dan and me on the PawSox Radio Network, or online @ pawsox.com   

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