Rangers reliever Rowen sharp in Rafters' win
After solid season, right-hander trying to keep momentum going in Surprise bullpen
A submarining righty coming off a breakout season, Ben Rowen isn't about to be intimidated by some marquee names in Arizona. In fact, with a delivery like his, intimidation is part of his repertoire.
"I want to pretty much translate everything I did the whole year and make sure I'm doing the same thing here, making sure I'm not intimated," said Rowen, who recently won the MiLBY award as the Minors' best reliever in 2012. "Just need to stay relaxed and calm on the mound."
Rowen turned in another line of zeros on Thursday, pitching a pair of scoreless innings in support of starter Justin Marks as Surprise beat Scottsdale, 6-1, in the Arizona Fall League.
Rowen struck out one and held the Scorpions to a pair of hits in his ninth appearance of the fall. He struck out Alex Monsalve (Indians) in a 1-2-3 fifth inning before stranding Yankees prospects Slade Heathcott and David Adams to escape the sixth.
"They were just ground ball singles, found a couple holes, so I wasn't too worried about it," Rowen said. "I kept attacking hitters and made my pitches, so there's not much I can do if they find a hole. Just stay calm and throw my pitches."
In eight innings this fall, Rowen has five strikeouts and has held opponents scoreless in seven of nine outings.
The Rangers prospect is coming off a solid season in which he went 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA in 38 relief appearances for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. The submariner struck out 52 in 57 1/3 innings and walked just three batters all season.
"It's definitely been a learning experience," he said. "I've had some rough outings, today was one of my better ones with two scoreless. It's been good here with the good competition. I'm learning a lot with my pitching coach Jim Brower."
Rowen's control hasn't quite been the same since facing elite hitters in Arizona -- he's already issued four free passes.
"The hitters here are a lot more patient," Rowen said. "They don't chase balls out of the zone, so I've got to make my pitches down in the zone and hit my spots and make sure I'm concentrating on staying focused. It's a higher caliber of hitters here. It's stiff competition."
Rowen, drafted by the Rangers in the 22nd round of the 2010 Draft, should see a bump up to Double-A Frisco next spring where he'll have his hands full facing more of the patient hitters he's seeing in Arizona.
"I'm trying to work on a few things and sometimes it doesn't work out, so you gotta work around it," he said.
Marks (4-0), a lefty in the Royals' system, held the Scorpions to one run on four hits over four innings to stay undefeated for Surprise. He struck out three.
Darrell Ceciliani (Mets), Bryce Brentz (Red Sox), Chris McGuiness (Rangers), Christian Vazquez (Red Sox), Whit Merrifield (Royals) and Hanser Alberto (Rangers) drove in runs for Surprise.
Giants left-hander Chris Gloor fell to 1-2 after allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks over four innings. Heathcott knocked in the Scorpions' lone run.
Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.