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Jacoby Ellsbury. Mike Cameron. Mike Lowell. Josh Beckett. Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dustin Pedroia. Manny Delcarmen. Jeremy Hermida. Victor Martinez. Jason Varitek. The Boson Red Sox have lost a player with the ability to play every position except shortstop (and even then Pedroia could but likely never would) to the disabled list this year. Starters and relievers, infielders and outfielders, catchers and designated hitters – no one has been spared.
Unfortunately, help from some of the more prized “crops” has been less than many have expected during the offseason and spring training. While the plan this year was to bridge the gap between waves of prospects, a few players look like they are ready to contribute to the majors in at least a small, productive way.
Despite a few bad outings in the majors, Michael Bowden put together another solid season in AAA in 2009 with a 3.13 ERA in 126.1 minor league innings, though not as impressive as his showing in AA. He walked 3.3 batters per nine innings, his highest rate over any full season, and struck out just 6.3 betters per nine. This left him with a 1.87 K/BB ratio. This season, his rates look about the same. After a good June, and more struggles by the major league relief corps, Bowden was moved to the PawSox bullpen. In his first three relief appearance, Bowden has gone four innings without allowing a run or a walk. While it’s no guarantee of major league success, it’s good to see him pitching well, no matter what the role. Depending on how quickly Manny Delcarmen returns from the DL and the state of Okajima’s ailing back, we could see a lot of Bowden in the second half.
Jed Lowrie just hasn’t been healthy the past few years and continues to be missed on the major league roster. When Dustin Pedroia broke his foot, his absence was felt the most. Still recovering from a case of mono, Lowrie has just begun a rehab assignment with Single A Lowell. In five games, Lowrie has six hits in 14 at bats with four walks to go along with just one strikeout. His next stop will be AAA and from there, we could see Lowrie replace Ryan Shealy on the major league roster and share time with Bill Hall at the keystone. Lowrie doesn’t have Hall’s power, but his defense off the bench has been missed.
Although Josh Reddick has been the first outfield prospect called up when the Red Sox need an extra body to roam the grass, Ryan Kalish has been on fire and may pique the Sox interest next time they need another bat. In 22 games at Pawtucket this season (he spent the first 41 in Portland) Kalish has hit .333/.407/.457/.863 with seven doubles, a home run and nine stolen bases. And he plays a pretty good center field too. With Jacoby Ellsbury still in limbo and Mike Cameron banged up, Kalish could find himself up before September and pushing Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava to the background.