Boston’s pitching future was on display Monday afternoon at McCoy
Stadium — the future in the person of starter Michael Bowden and
reliever Daniel Bard.

Bowden recorded his first Triple-A
victory (which is interesting in the sense he won his first major league
game last season) as the Pawtucket Red Sox blanked the Lehigh Valley
Ironpigs, 2-0.

And Bard nailed down his third save in as many opportunities by tossing a two-strikeout ninth inning.

“I think Dan and I hope so,” Bowden said in reference to the
fact they represent Boston’s future. “I hope so and I’m sure a lot of
other guys hope so. That’s what it seems like.”


Bowden was stretched out longer than he was in his first two starts. He worked 5 1/3 innings encompassing 92 pitches (61 were
strikes) and allowed only three hits and one walk while striking out

“He’s made progress in every outing,” said manager Ron Johnson.
“I know he was really excited today because we got past that
unchartered territory and got him into the sixth inning.

“I thought Mike threw the ball very well. He was downhill with
all of his pitches. His slider was impressive today. It’s starting to
come around.

“By talking last year with (Portland pitching coach) Mike Cather
in spring training, he was telling me it takes a little while to get
into it,” continued Johnson. “Once he gets to a certain point, then he
really starts to roll.”

With the exception of the fourth inning, when he worked out of a
bases-loaded, two-out jam, Bowden definitely “rolled” the Ironpigs.

“He tried to vary times,” said Johnson. “He was around the zone.
His fastball had that little extra finish that we’ve seen in the past.”

Bowden attributes an adjustment in his delivery to his
early-season success (in 14 innings, he’s allowed only one run and
fanned 15).

“I didn’t do anything with my arm angle,” said Bowden. “It was
more with my feet. I was so compact last year, which is what we
originally wanted, but now I’m getting a little more rhythm. I’m
getting a little more momentum in my windup and a little more leg kick.

“I feel a lot more comfortable and a lot more powerful.”

Bard, without question, was “powerful” as he blew high fastballs
past Andy Tracy and J.J. Furmaniak for his two ninth-inning strikeouts.

In eight innings, Bard has fanned 13 batters.

“It was fun to watch today in that you got to see the two
younger guys, in Bowden and Bard,” said Johnson. “And you got to see a
really good acquire in Fernando Cabrera (he relieved Bowden in the
sixth and threw 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief), who’s got pretty good

“It was kind of like you got to see the whole spectrum – the
veteran guy in the middle and the two younger guys at the beginning and
the end. I feel real comfortable when I can bring in the big

The one fastball he threw to Tracy was like, ‘Wow!’ He’s doing  a nice job of commanding himself.”

EXTRA BASES:  The only runs Pawtucket needed came in the first
inning when Jeff Bailey lined a leadoff single and Paul McAnulty hit an
off-field homer into the left-field bullpen off Kyle Kendrick …

Since Rocco Baldelli tweaked a hamstring during Boston’s win over
Baltimore, the Red Sox called up Bailey … Clay Buchholz said his tender
hamstring muscle “feels good” and that he expects to make his next
start Wednesday afternoon at McCoy against Rochester …

Julio Lugo,
who’s on Boston’s disabled list, will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday
night for Pawtucket … Lugo is trying to bounce back from surgery to
repair a torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee … Outfielder Jonathan
Van Every, who’s been sidelined with a sprained ankle, also will join
Pawtucket on Tuesday.