Today, the Chicago Cubs recalled reliever Michael Bowden (adding him back to the 40-man roster) from AAA Iowa, and he’ll join the Cubs’ bullpen today. In a corresponding move, the Cubs sent starter Brooks Raley back to AAA Iowa. Before you flare up that Raley had a nice start last time against the Reds, and that it makes sense to keep giving him chances, be cool: Raley can be brought back up on Saturday for the Cubs/Reds doubleheader as part of the 26-man roster (a new rule for doubleheaders) to start one of those two games. It’s apparently an exception to the usual rule, which requires you to wait 10 days before you can recall a player sent to the minors (unless there is an injury). In other words, you might not even notice that Raley was optioned, and the Cubs are just grabbing an extra bullpen arm while they can, craftily taking advantage of the upcoming doubleheader.

As for Bowden, you’ll remember him as the promising bullpen arm the Cubs acquired from the Red Sox for Marlon Byrd … who completely crapped the bed, was de-roster, and was sent to Iowa soon after he arrived. There, he’s been pretty great, with one exception. In 32.2 innings, he has a 2.76 ERA, a 1.102 WHIP, and has struck out 35. All great. But he’s walked 17 (15 unintentionally), which is still far too high. Bowden turns 26 in a few weeks, so there’s still plenty of time for him to establish himself as a real contender for the bullpen next year, but being a back-end option in 2013 is probably no longer in the cards.

To make room for Bowden on the 40-man, Ian Stewart was transferred to the 60-day DL.


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