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Red Sox notebook

Bowden will lend a hand in bullpen

By Peter Abraham and Michael Vega
Globe Staff / May 18, 2011

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With Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield going into the rotation, the Red Sox need some bullpen help. For now, that means Michael Bowden, with more changes on the horizon.

Bowden arrived at Fenway Park before last night’s game against the Orioles was postponed by rain. He officially will be added to the roster before tonight’s game against the Tigers.

Bowden was informed of his promotion late Monday night. The 24-year-old righthander has pitched well for Triple A Pawtucket, posting a 1.59 ERA in 14 appearances. He struck out 28 and allowed just 15 hits over 22 2/3 innings with four walks.

“I feel like I’m throwing the ball great, I feel good, and I’m excited to be here to help the team,’’ he said.

Bowden, a supplemental first-round draft pick in 2005, converted to the bullpen last season, and the switch has been largely a success.

“Feeling comfortable and throwing the ball real well,’’ he said.

Bowden has a 6.69 ERA over 23 major league games, but Sox executives have been pleased with his progress this season, pointing to improved command and using his slider in any count.

Bowden may not have a long stay, however, as Dan Wheeler could be activated from the disabled list Friday. The righthanded reliever has been out with what the team said was a strained muscle in his left calf. Wheeler also had an 11.32 ERA in 10 appearances.

“I don’t see any reason why he won’t be ready [Friday],’’ said manager Terry Francona.

Wheeler has made two rehabilitation appearances for Pawtucket, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings with one walk and five strikeouts.

Another reliever on the disabled list, righthander Bobby Jenks, started a throwing program yesterday. He had been shut down for 15 days with biceps tendinitis.

“I felt fine,’’ said Jenks, who made some throws from 60 feet and will increase that distance today. “My arm feels good. Now I just need to get ready.’’

That process is expected to take at least 10 days. Francona said Jenks likely would need a rehabilitation assignment before returning.

Martinez returns The Tigers arrive at Fenway Park tonight for a two-game series with former Sox catcher Victor Martinez hitting .317 with four homers and 23 RBIs. He is primarily Detroit’s DH, having caught only eight games.

Asked if he was looking forward to seeing Martinez, Jason Varitek said, “Absolutely. Victor’s awesome. I hate to see him on the other side. We’re going to have to do what we’ve got to do to keep him at bay.’’

Martinez hit .313 with an .865 OPS for the Red Sox after being acquired from the Indians at the trade deadline in 2009.

He signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tigers in November after becoming a free agent. The Red Sox were interested in retaining him, but not for that length of time.

The Tigers were rained out last night at home against Toronto. They will skip Rick Porcello’s turn in the rotation and stick with lefthander Phil Coke and righthander Justin Verlander against the Sox.

Call it off The Sox postponed last night’s game about 20 minutes before it was scheduled to start. The gates opened on time, however, and several thousand people were subjected to the rain and cold at Fenway Park. The Sox have not determined when the game will be made up . . . Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald were in the lineup, as Francona planed to give Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew the day off against Orioles lefty Zach Britton . . . Former Sox outfielder Jim Rice was saddened to hear of the death of fellow Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew from cancer. “A nice man,’’ Rice said. “He always was nice to me at the Hall of Fame functions. He told me to call him ‘Harmon’ but I called him ‘Mr. Killebrew’ out of respect.’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe; Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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