Bowden back with Red Sox -- for good

Bowden back with Red Sox -- for good

CHICAGO -- Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Bowden didn't mind the late notice -- approximately 11:45 p.m. ET on Friday -- that he was coming back to the Major Leagues. He didn't mind that 6 a.m. flight from Providence, R.I., to Chicago on Saturday morning. This time around, Bowden knew he would actually be able to unpack his bag in the clubhouse and not have to pack it right back up again.

This was Bowden's fourth stint with the Red Sox. The first three lasted all of one day.

And the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Bowden is an Illinois native, and his family lives roughly 40 minutes from U.S. Cellular Field.

"To get called back here and get to see my family and everything, it's going to be a lot of fun," said Bowden, who turns 23 on Wednesday. "I'll probably have to leave 20 tickets, and that's cutting off some people, so I'm already borrowing a lot of tickets from the other players."

Bowden likely would have been added to the roster at the beginning of next week, when Triple-A Pawtucket's season ends. But because Junichi Tazawa pitched 3 2/3 innings on Friday, the Red Sox needed bullpen protection on a day Tim Wakefield was making his return to the rotation following back woes.

The Red Sox last saw Bowden on Aug. 21, the night he was shelled for eight hits and seven runs over two innings by the Yankees in a 20-11 loss. If that game had gone differently, Bowden would have stuck around. But they were at a point in the season where they needed fresh bullpen arms.

Bowden didn't let it deflate him.

"The only thing I could learn from that is throw it over my shoulder and forget about it," Bowden said. "I went out in my next few starts, and I tried not to worry about that. I just try to go out there and keep pitching my game and just forget about it, and I think I've accomplished that."

In 24 starts for Pawtucket this season, Bowden went 4-6 with a 3.13 ERA.

"Yeah, I saw him in the lobby this morning and I said, 'Hey, you're here for the rest of the [season], so relax, you can unpack your suitcase.' So that will be good," said manager Terry Francona. "He's had a good year. He got caught in that buzzsaw last time out, kind of like Tazawa did [Friday night]. It should be a good experience for him."

Bowden is looking forward to it.

"It's good to know that I can come here and be comfortable," Bowden said. "It's not, unpack my bag and then pack it right back up. All three cases, it's pretty much been that. It's just going to be nice to get comfortable and hang around with the guys and kind of know my role."

A starter by trade, Bowden will be used mainly as a long man for the rest of the season. By Spring Training, he hopes to be in the mix for a rotation spot.

"I hope so," said Bowden. "That's my goal every year. We'll see."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.