SOLID AS A ROCK
“It was the best news I’ve gotten all year.” – Michael Bowden talking about the Major League promotion of teammate Tommy Hottovy.
That was a direct quote from Bowden. Friday morning, as news filtered through the PawSox travelling entourage that lefthander Tommy Hottovy had earned his first Major League callup, Bowden had a big smile on his face. That’s the kind of kid he is. Fighting for Major League appearances himself, the 24 year old reliever rejoiced at Hottovys’ good fortune. Bowden has had his ups and downs, literally, as he’s travelled Route 95 between Pawtucket and Boston. “It’s been a whirlwind for me. Going up for a couple of days, coming back down for a few days and then getting called back up and getting the chance to pitch. I did alright, but immediately after the game I got sent back down here (Pawtucket). I’m just grateful that I’m the guy that’s here and I’ll be called upon if someone is needed up there. (for the record, Boston needed a lefty to replace Rich Hill, thus Hottovy, rather than Bowden, this time.)
Bowden is happy to get the call anytime. Recently, while the PawSox were in Scranton, Bowden got a false alarm, of sorts. “That was a teaser. I got called up. I packed my bags. I went to the airport. As I was getting off the bus to go inside the airport, they called and said ‘no’, they had changed their mind. It was OK, though. It was a week later that I got the second call. Despite spending time in the Majors in each of the past 4 seasons, Bowden says it’s exciting every time he earns the promotion. “There’s always going to be a thrill for me, whenever I get the call to Boston, I’m going to have butterflies. It’s always fun when you get a call and the manager tells you that you’re going up there. I don’t think it will ever wear off.”
Two of Michaels’ last four outings have not been “Bowden-esque”. He has given up home runs late in games to Andy Marte and Scott Thorman. Manager Arnie Beyeler chalks it up to inactivity, while Michael was in the Bigs. Bowden agrees. “The first time I was up there for 6 days. I wasn’t crisp. I gave up some hits. I didn’t feel great, but I should have been able to manage it a lot better than I did. I had another outing in between. It was OK, but still a little bit sloppy. The next time out, I blew the game. It was the first time in my career I did that. I’ll tell you what. It’s a terrible feeling when you let your team down like that. I know it happens. You just try to learn from it. I can’t tell you what went wrong there. I just gave up some hits and then the homer. It just happened real quick.” Bowden has an unparalleled work ethic and prepares meticulously. He realizes that sometimes, even that’s not enough. “You do exactly what you need to do. That’s what makes this such a great game. Baseball. You think you master it one day and the next day you give up four runs. That’s the beauty of this game.”
Bowden has been promoted and optioned back several times in his career. He said he turned the tables on Red Sox manager Terry Francona when it was time to head back to Pawtucket. “When Tito called me in there, I told him to hold on, I knew the drill. He thought that was funny. He told me to get back here and just keep pitching. He told me that they weren’t afraid to call me up if they need somebody. That’s a great feeling to know they have the confidence in me to go up there and help them.”
Michael Bowden is a good pitcher and an even better guy. Solid as a rock.