Owens more seasoned, confident

Left-hander out to prove he belongs in big leagues

Owens more seasoned, confident

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Henry Owens who would use Spring Training to soak things in and learn as he went has been replaced by a more confident and determined individual who expects results out of himself.

This is the third year Owens has been in Major League camp, but it has a decidedly different feel for the lanky lefty, who fired two shutout innings against the Twins in the Red Sox's 7-4 loss at JetBlue Park.

After making his first 11 starts in the Major Leagues down the stretch last season, the lefty now feels he has an understanding of what it takes to pitch at the highest level.

"Absolutely," Owens said following his Grapefruit League debut. "Getting my feet wet last year was great. I think it's going to take me a long way this year."

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Owens' only obstacle might be opportunity. The Red Sox have four givens in their rotation -- David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. Joe Kelly has the inside track on the fifth spot.

"I think I just have to focus on what I can focus on and try to get better for the team," Owens said.

Owens demonstrated composure in the first inning. After giving up two walks and a single to load the bases with one out, Owens buckled down and got out of the jam with strikeouts of Oswaldo Arcia and Byung Ho Park.

In the second, Owens gave up a leadoff double and then retired the next three batters -- two of them on strikeouts.

"I thought Henry threw a number of quality pitches," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "The thing that stands out is his poise, even when there were multiple men in scoring position. First time out, I thought he accomplished a number of things. That was the use of all three pitches, but the thing that stood out was how he kept those innings from further damage being created. Mound presence and poise I thought was very good."

Owens didn't just feel his way through the outing with his fastball. He went to the whole repertoire.

"I've thrown a lot of [bullpen sessions] down here, so I felt like my offspeed was ready to show in games," Owens said. "It was only the first game. There is still some improvement to go and I've got to get ready for the season."

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