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Michael Bowden to Start for Red Sox vs. Pirates on March 13

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Michael Bowden #64 of the Boston Red Sox poses during photo day at the Boston Red Sox Spring Training practice facility on February 28, 2010 in Ft. Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
George CampbellContributor IMarch 11, 2010

One of the Red Sox top right handed pitching prospects will be making his 2010 Spring Training debut as a starter for the big league club this Saturday.

Michael Bowden will get the call to face the Pirates at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers.

Bowden has pitched two innings of relief this spring, giving up just a hit and no runs with a pair of strikeouts against the Twins.

Bowden is hoping for a role in Boston’s bullpen when the club heads north. The team already has six starters vying for the five rotation spots.

“Right now I don’t know if the bullpen is an option, but that’s going to be my mind set this spring training,” he said before the March 8 game against the Cardinals. “I’m looking for a spot to be on the big league roster, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll be going down to AAA, starting and continuing to develop and work on some new mechanic’s I have been working on this offseason, and continue trying to work on my game.”

Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell sees this as an opportunity for Bowden and the Red Sox.

“He is a guy we will look upon as providing us depth in the rotation,” Farrell said of Bowden. “This is a chance for him to do just that, get up and down three times with the scheduled three inning of work Saturday, and face some of the guys at the major league level. It’s a chance for him to see that caliber of hitter, and for us to take a continued look at him. He’s a guy we know can and needs to perform, and add that major league depth.”

His best shot to make the team out of spring training is as a reliever, but he is not looking to become a reliever long term, saying, “its just an option.”

He will log innings as both for the Sox this spring, giving him opportunities to build innings and show his talent.

“I’ve had innings coming out of the pen, so I can work on my routine in the pen,” Bowden said. “Next Saturday I’ll be starting, so I will be working on that. My innings are going to add up so I am developing like a starter, that's how I’m preparing, but the bullpen transition for me won’t be that hard if that were to be an option.”

The 23-year-old Illinois native has made one big league start in each of the past two seasons. He had a 3.13 ERA in 24 starts for AAA Pawtucket in 2009, third best in the International League . His .228 opponent average against ranked second in the league.

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