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Bowden, McDonald take some steps forward

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 9, 2012 10:57 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Counting the game against Northeastern, Michael Bowden has thrown 4.2 perfect innings this spring, striking out five. He threw a scoreless eighth inning against the Pirates tonight.

Spring training results can be massively deceptive given that teams use all manner of scrubeenies late in games. But Bowden has looked sharp.

"I really like Michael Bowden," Bobby Valentine said. "His fastball is down in the zone. ... He had a good split working off of it. From the side, it looked like a pitch that was very hard to recognize. I liked what I saw. He's going to get more quality innings, move up in the game a little."

Bowden, a 25-year-old righthander, has appeared in 37 major league games over four seasons, posting a 5.75 earned run average in 56 innings. Initially developed as a starter, Bowden went to the bullpen midway through the 2010 season. He pitched well at Pawtucket last season, not as well with the Sox in 14 games.

Bowden is out of options and may be good enough to get a shot with another team if the Red Sox try and pass him through waivers. He'll be in the mix for that last spot in the bullpen.

Another player scrapping for a job, Darnell McDonald, was 2 for 2 with a home run and a double. Both hits were hammered, the home run clearing everything in left.

"When I got him in I said, 'You're going to get two at-bats, not one. Make the best of them.' he sure did," Valentine said. "Those were two loud sounds."

McDonald is 4 for 9 this spring with three doubles and that home run.

"It shouldn't go unnoticed," Valentine said. "He's a guy, at times, is going to come off the bench. He's a guy who is fighting for a job. Thus far this spring he's making the best of his opportunities and playing good baseball."

In the clubhouse, McDonald had a white towel wrapped around his head and was scanning his phone.

"Just trying to play my game," he said. "That home run felt good, no doubt."

See the Globe tomorrow for much more on D-Mac.

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