Red Sox groom RHP Michael Bowden for relief role

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With little relief available on the trade market at the moment, the Red Sox have decided to look within the organization for setup help. Long-time pitching prospect Michael Bowden was shifted from the rotation to the pen this week, with an eye towards a promotion to the majors after the All-Star break.
It certainly wasn’t a demotion for Bowden. His overall line for Triple-A Pawtucket isn’t particularly impressive — he’s 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA and a 59/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings — but he had allowed just four runs over 28 innings in his last four starts.
Bowden’s upside, though, has always been questioned, even during the times in which he’s dominated in the minors. As a flyball pitcher with a modest strikeout rate, his margin for error is pretty small. His low-90s fastball, slider and changeup are all legitimate major league pitches, but he lacks a standout offering. That could change if a move to the pen results in an increase in velocity.
The Red Sox will probably have Bowden make 8-10 relief appearances for Pawtucket this month before deciding whether he’s ready to help the big-league club. If he impresses, it could allow the team to focus elsewhere when the trade deadline comes.

Kenley Jansen gives up two homers, loses game in his return

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was activated yesterday after missing ten days due to an irregular heartbeat. He says he feels great. That’s good!

Jansen also allowed back-to-back homers after entering a tie game in the ninth inning of last night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, picking up the loss. Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter did the honors. That’s . . . not so good! At least not for Jansen and the Dodgers.

Jansen said after the game that he was healthy, but that his pitchers were simply flat. One has to assume it’s a matter of rust. And a matter of Matt Carpenter hitting a boatload of homers this year, and at some point there is only so much you can do to stop him. Bad result, of course.