Former Vidalia standout Bowden working on command

Published 12:17 am Friday, May 21, 2010

WILMINGTON, Del. — Opposing hitters aren’t having much luck against Barry Bowden these days.

The former Vidalia High School and Southern Miss standout is now pitching in High A ball for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Kansas City Royals minor league affiliate.

And the results are staggering: Bowden currently has a 2.12 ERA through 17 innings, is striking out over a batter per inning and opponents are hitting just .217 against him. Bowden, who serves as closer for the Blue Rocks, said he’s been able to settle in after a bit of a rocky start.

“I started out the season with a save opportunity against Myrtle Beach, but I gave up a two-run home run and blew it,” Bowden said.

“After that, I’ve been better. I had some control problems in my last outing (this past Sunday), and that’s really been my though process for the whole season. I just work on command for all my pitches.”

And having to work on command is something he’s not really used to doing, Bowden said.

“I usually have pretty good command, and that’s what I pitch off of. I don’t know if I’m in a pitcher’s slump, but I’m trying to work on it and I hope it gets better.”

As a reliever, Bowden is focusing on throwing mostly just his fastball and changeup, although he will occasionally use the curveball too, he said.

“I mainly pitch off my fastball, which sits about 88 to 91 mph. My changeup has been my out pitch most of the time, but I haven’t had as good a feel for it this year for some reason,” Bowden said.

“I think that just comes down to being comfortable on the mound, just finding your comfort zone in the game, so hopefully it’ll come around. I still have my curveball too. I don’t throw it a whole lot, but it is my third pitch, and I do throw it occasionally.”

In addition to improving his command, Bowden also said he hopes to move up a classification by the time the season’s over.

“I’d definitely like to try and make it to AA. I think I have a chance to get out there and be more consistent, and work towards that,” Bowden said.

Although Bowden was a starter up until the Royals drafted him, he said he’s come to enjoy being a relief pitcher.

“I’ve grown to like it, just going out and having to get it done in a couple of innings,” Bowden said.

“In college, I would always go into the late innings, and I think coming out of the bullpen is easier on your arm.”