At 6:07 p.m., left-handed pitcher Henry Owens stood on the third base-side of the mound. He went into his windup and fired across his body with a three-quarters arm slot.

A called strike with an 89 mph fastball. Then came another at 92 mph.

Maybe this new arm slot was going to work out for Owens.

But 40 pitches later, with Owens still laboring in the first inning, it became agonizingly obvious that this was a work in progress – with much work ahead for Owens.

“It’s a process and he understands that,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Kevin Walker said.

Owens, 24, did not finish the first inning. He lasted eight batters, recording two outs and walking six. He threw 42 pitches, only 15 strikes.


With the new, three-quarters slot, Owens struggled to find any consistency.

After working an 0-2 count, Owens walked that first batter with four straight balls. Some pitches just missed. Others were either yanked inside to right-handed batters, or flew outside. His change-up, likewise, could not find the plate.

“Everything felt good and my body felt good,” Owens said. “I just felt I didn’t have command of my off-speed stuff, which usually gets me back on track with my fastball.

“I was manipulating the change-up and it was squirting outside the zone. Then I’d go back to fastball, with just marginal miss off the plate.”

Tuesday was the debut of Owens’ new delivery. The Red Sox sent Owens down from Triple-A Pawtucket to figure it out. Something had to be done. In Pawtucket, Owens had 72 strikeouts in 69 innings, but also 60 walks.

Henry Owens is trying a new three-quarters slot delivery, but Tuesday night he struggled to find any consistency, walking six of eight batters.

This was not the Owens that Sea Dogs fans remembered. Three years ago, Owens arrived in Portland as one of Boston’s top prospects, a supplemental-round draft pick (36th overall) in 2011. He was sharp back then, accenting a low 90s fastball with a killer change-up. Owens was 14-4 with a 2.60 ERA and 126 strikeouts/47 walks in 121 innings.


But the command slowly slipped away. He made his major league debut in 2015 (4.57 ERA) and, in 2016, made some early starts, including a six-inning, two-run effort against the Yankees. But in his five Red Sox starts last year, Owens had a 6.95 ERA, with 21 strikeouts/20 walks in 22 innings.

Owens said he’s been tinkering the last couple of years, trying to find consistency. This past spring training, he was included in the first cuts from major league camp. He has not been among Boston’s options out of Pawtucket. The Red Sox, instead, have called up Brian Johnson, Kyle Kendrick and Hector Velazquez before, recently, signing Doug Fister.

Meanwhile, Owens is back in Double-A, pushing the reset button.

“It’s been 7-10 days that he really started to convert to trying this,” Walker said. “We’ve seen some good things on the side. It’s about developing this and getting the reps in competition.

“Continue to get those reps and let this one go.”

Owens said his delivery “felt comfortable” but he could not get in a rhythm.


“There was a fine line of step on the gas, step off the gas,” Owens said. “Sometimes, I was too amped.

“Sometimes, I was aiming with two strikes.

“Again, it’s going to be repetition and repetition. I have a side (bullpen) in two days, and I’m pitching the last day before the All-Star break.”

Owens will be back on the Hadlock mound Sunday against Reading. The process continues – hopefully with improved results.

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