Sunday, April 26, 2009

Welcome aboard, Michael Bowden

Whoops. Got my formats mixed up.

Either way, Michael Bowden is at Fenway Park today and available to pitch if the Red Sox need him. Thanks to back-to-back long nights for the Red Sox bullpen, the Red Sox have a slew of arms unavailable to pitch today -- particularly Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez and Jonathan Papelbon, according to manager Terry Francona.

In the first two games of the Red Sox-Yankees series:
* Delcarmen pitched 2 2/3 innings and threw 46 pitches;
* Ramirez pitched 1 2/3 innings and threw 33 pitches;
* Papelbon pitched 2 innings and threw 47 pitches.

Hideki Okajima isn't likely to pitch either; he's thrown 33 pitches in his two appearances (totaling 2/3 of an inning -- but that's because he failed to get an out on Friday).

That leaves Takashi Saito and Javier Lopez as the lone Red Sox relievers who haven't pitched on back-to-back days. Hunter Jones remains as an option, though he's not someone the Red Sox want to throw into a key spot. In a perfect world, Justin Masterson would pitch seven efficient innings and hand the ball to Lopez for the eighth and Saito in the ninth. This, though, is Red Sox-Yankees; there's no such thing as seven efficient innings.

Francona brought up Bowden mostly as an insurance policy. If the game goes to extra innings, he can feel comfortable going to the rookie and letting him pitch four or five innings if necessary. Ideally, though, Bowden will enjoy the game from Red Sox bullpen and head right back to Pawtucket in the morning.


Gil Velazquez was optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for Bowden, which means the Red Sox will play tonight's game an infielder short.

"If something were to happen with an infielder, the worst that would happen for us would that it would be maybe embarassing," he said. "We'd end up moving (Kevin Youkilis) or doing something or not being able to pinch-run -- which doesn't ruin our year. If something happens to our pitching, ... having somebody with length is important."

Embarassing? Youkilis was just taking ground balls at shortstop during batting practice -- and he didn't look half bad.


OneIfByLand exclusive: Patriots tight end Ben Watson was wandering the halls of Fenway Park before the game. It doesn't seem to be fair to print what he said just because it wasn't really an interview, but suffice to say, he was taken completely by surprise by the Ellis Hobbs trade.

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