BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox may have traded away ace Jon Lester last week, but the kid with the potential to one day fill that spot in the rotation took a big step forward on Monday night.
Henry Owens, the 6-foot-6 lefty who was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft, made his Triple-A debut for the Pawtucket Red Sox, and he sure looked like he was ready to handle the advanced competition.
Facing the Columbus Clippers, Owens struck out nine batters while pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Owens was actually spinning a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings before he allowed an infield single.
The final line on Owens: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 9 SO, 3 BB.
The 22-year-old said the ovation he received from the 8,000-plus fans in attendance at McCoy Stadium was a special moment.
“That was awesome,” he said. “I got chills. It was cool — a cool night in McCoy.”
Owens’ call-up was in part necessitated by all of the Pawtucket arms that were called up to the majors after the Sox traded away Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, Andrew Miller and Felix Doubront. But it was also clear that Owens had maximized his growth potential in Double-A, where he went 17-5 with a 2.44 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 151 1/3 innings since he arrived in Portland toward the end of last season. He also started the Futures Game this year, in which he pitched a scoreless inning.
With regard to his approach to pitching in Triple-A, Owens said he stuck with what got him there.
“I talked to a lot of these guys who have thrown up here, and they said just stick with your approach, stick with your game, you’re still throwing from 60 feet away,” he said. “I kind of kept with it.”
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