Owens has valuable takeaway after rough outing vs. Blue Jays

Lefty now has better idea of finesse necessary for pitching in Majors

Owens has valuable takeaway after rough outing vs. Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Henry Owens didn't pitch the way he would have liked on Thursday against the Blue Jays in Boston's 6-3 loss, but he got an invaluable lesson in how fine you have to be to get quality Major League hitters out.

Facing a Toronto lineup that included Jose Reyes, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson, Owens gave up five hits and five runs over three-plus innings, walking one and striking out one. He faced three batters in the fourth before being removed.

"I felt good," said the 22-year-old Owens. "I wish I threw as good as I felt."

When facing hitters like the ones Owens faced on Thursday, command has to be pinpoint.

Bautista took an ill-placed changeup and walloped it high and deep and over the wall in left in the first inning.

"Yeah, 1-0 changeup, threw it for a strike, and his hands stayed through the zone well," said Owens. "That's what a good hitter does."

Danny Valencia took Owens deep shortly before his exit in the fourth.

Owens is the fourth-ranked lefty pitching prospect, according to MLB.com.

"It was definitely a good experience, and I definitely can understand that if you fall behind any hitter, especially at the big league level, they're going to do some damage," said Owens. "I think when I was ahead of hitters, I was kind of in command of the game and had a good comfort level, but I fell behind way too many hitters today."

Truth be told, Owens probably benefited more from a rocky performance like this than he would have if he had fired four perfect innings.

"I think more than anything, [he got to see] how his stuff plays against some of the best right-handed hitters in the big leagues," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "The best teacher we have is in between the lines. And for him to experience that, as much as he can this Spring Training, that's always going to be a positive."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.