Tuesday April 06, 2010 | 03:07 AM

Michael Bowden, 23, may see his near future in the bullpen or with another organization.

And what of Felix Doubront, 22; Alex Wilson 23; Casey Kelly, 20; and Stolmy Pimentel, 20?

All of them are starting pitcher prospects in the Red Sox organization - an organization that just wrapped up another starting pitcher for four seasons after this year. Josh Beckett's new four-year extension keeps him in Boston in 2014. The same goes for John Lackey and Jon Lester. Clay Buchholz is also under Sox control until then.

So, unless there is an injury or trade, Boston will have one vacancy in its rotation for years to come.

And the fifth spot is supposedly wrapped up through 2012, when Daisuke Matuszaka's contract expires.

Oh, and you can't forget Tim Wakefield, who is signed through 2011.

Bowden and Doubront are entering their second full year on the 40-man roster. If I'm understanding MLB rules correctly, they will have to be on a major league roster by 2012. They could work as long relievers and eventually find their way into the rotation.

Wilson, a second round draft pick last year, has been a reliever in college and may find himself back in the pen anyway.

Pimentel, who signed as a pro when he was 16, will have to be placed on the 40-man roster after this season to protect him. So Boston can take its time with him.

Kelly can be groomed slowly (year in Portland, year in Pawtucket, etc).

All the while the Red Sox will continue to build depth. Pitching prospects will be developed and either traded, or  brought up as relievers or replacement starters in case of injury.

Sounds like a plan.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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