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Minor league notebook

It seems routine for Owens

2011 draftee thriving despite big injury scare

By Craig Forde
Globe Correspondent / July 13, 2012
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Henry Owens thought he was safely behind the netting during the Greenville Drive’s batting practice in late June, but a screaming liner dipped and clipped the 6-foot-6-inch lefthander above his left eyebrow.

He dropped to the ground and wasn’t quite sure what had happened.

“The trainers thought I was joking,” said Owens, the No. 36 overall pick in the 2011 draft. “They thought it hit the net and I was faking it. I thought someone threw it.

“An inch or two lower and it would have squared me up in the eye. That wouldn’t have been a good situation.”

The glasses Owens was wearing exploded off of his face, causing some cuts on his nose and a black eye, but he did not suffer any concussion-like symptoms or serious injuries.

Owens was skipped a start and returned to the hill July 6 for the Single A Drive and did not seem to have any lingering effects.

“I fell behind the leadoff guy, 3-2,” said Owens, who threw five innings of two-hit ball against the Rome Braves, striking out seven. “I fell behind the second hitter, 3-1, and fell behind the third hitter, 2-1. I was probably just a little anxious since I hadn’t been on the mound in a few days.

“After the first inning I calmed down well. I think I only went to a three-ball count twice the rest of the game.”

Owens won his fifth straight start to improve to 9-2, though he took a no-decision in his following start Wednesday (one run in five innings). Owens has 97 strikeouts in 68 innings this year, with just 29 walks.

“I’m getting used to the routine in my first pro season,” said Owens, who will turn 20 on July 21. “The first half was kind of a learning process. Now I’m limiting my walks and going deeper into games, so I feel better than I did at the start of the year.”

Star gazing

After Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, and Justin Germano were summoned to the Red Sox prior to the major league All-Star break, the only remaining Triple A All-Star for Pawtucket was catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who started and went 1 for 2 in the International League’s 3-0 loss to the Pacific Coast League Wednesday night in Buffalo. The IL was managed by Pawtucket’s Arnie Beyeler.

The Portland Sea Dogs sent three players to the Eastern League All-Star Game in Reading, Pa., Wednesday night. Aaron Kurcz pitched 1 innings of scoreless relief (with two strikeouts) in the Eastern Division’s 5-4 victory. Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 0 for 4, and first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez didn’t enter the game.

In the Futures

Salem standouts Matt Barnes and Xander Bogaerts represented the Red Sox at the Futures Game in Kansas City, Mo., last Sunday.

Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, played the whole game for the World Team as the designated hitter and went 1 for 4 with a single and two strikeouts.

Barnes was the last of 10 pitchers to appear for the US Team and retired the final two batters on just two pitches — both 95-mile-per-hour fastballs — to close out a 17-5 victory.

Deadline nears

The signing deadline for 2012 draftees is Friday at 5 p.m. The date was pushed up from Aug. 15 because of changes to the collective bargaining agreement.

Outfielder Brandon Magee, a 23d-round selection out of Arizona State, signed Thursday, making him the 24th of 42 Red Sox picks to sign, including their first 12.

Magee will be allowed to play out his football career with the Sun Devils in the fall. A linebacker, he missed the 2011 season with a torn Achilles’. He will be eligible for the 2013 NFL draft.

Craig Forde writes On Deck, a Boston.com blog covering Red Sox and regional baseball prospects. He can be reached by email at cforde@globe.com and on Twitter @BeyondFenway.

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