From the Pages of Vine Line: Michael Bowden

When the Red Sox traded right-handed pitcher Michael Bowden to the Cubs as part of the Marlon Byrd deal, it was a dream come true for the Winfield, Ill., native, who grew up rooting for the team. In 36.2 innings with the Cubs, Bowden posted an impressive 2.95 ERA, and he looks poised to land a bullpen spot heading out of Spring Training in 2013. For the November issue of Vine Line, we talked to the 26-year-old reliever about coming to the Cubs, his relationship with Theo Epstein and his offbeat delivery. 

ONE-WAY TICKET  After I got designated from the Red Sox [in April], they said they were going to try to trade me, so I drove back [to Chicago]. I received some texts and read some rumors that they might be trying to deal Marlon Byrd, and I’m like, ‘No way, that’s too good to be true if that actually happens.’ I finally got the call [confirming the trade], and it was one of the highlights of my career. It was special. I was so happy to hear that and glad to come here and play for my hometown team—a team I grew up rooting for.

COMFORT FROM ABOVE  I’ve been with Theo [Epstein] all but a couple of months this past offseason, so he’s seen me every single year of my professional career. He knows the kind of person I am, the kind of player I am. He knows that I work hard, and I do everything I can to give it my all. It definitely gives me some confidence, him bringing me back over here, and I’m going to try to make the most of it.

QUIRKY APPROACH  I think [the odd delivery] helps. It throws off the hitters’ timing, and that’s helped me out a lot. But I’m not trying to be funky. I’m not trying to be deceptive. That’s just how I throw naturally. You should have seen me in high school. I’ve come a long way. The way I throw now, when I’m out there, I feel like I have very complete mechanics compared to what I had. A little bit of deceptiveness—I’ll take it. I’m sure it helps.

PLAYING YEAR-ROUND  I played in Venezuela two years ago. I love the opportunity and the excitement of going to new places and seeing what it’s like and learning a new culture. I think it’s a great experience, and I’m looking forward to it [this offseason]. And I get to play some ball.

To read the complete interview, pick up the November issue of Vine Line, available now at select Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, Meijer, Barnes & Noble and other Chicago-area retailers.

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