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Bowles arming himself to head in right direction

August 12, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

If Brian Bowles is being used as an example of the anatomy of a pitcher, his arm would fall low on the list of reasons for his success.

Don't get it wrong. Bowles has done some amazing things in the course of the last three weeks with that hose hanging from his right shoulder. But first, he had to use his head, ears and legs.

Bowles opened his mind to new ideas and has become an important cog in the Suns' drive for the South Atlantic League's second-half Northern Division title, culminating in a solid emergency start Wednesday in Hagerstown's 9-1 win over Charleston (W.Va.).

"(Pitching coach Hector Berrios) has helped me a lot recently," Bowles said. "He helped me simplify my delivery and eliminated a lot of extra movement. My arm feels great ... I feel like I could go out there again tonight."

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The 6-foot-5 right-hander would be following up an impressive performance: one unearned run on four hits in five innings while striking out five. In his last four outings, Bowles lowered his ERA from 4.70 to 3.69 - no earned runs in 14 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts and one walk.

"He hit the wall," Berrios said. "I finally pulled him aside in (Capital City) and got him to start staying back on his leg and finishing his follow-through strong.

"Now that he is using his legs more, he is over 90 (mph) and I think he has more left in the arm."

He can thank a strong conditioning program, that extra pop on his fastball and improved confidence in a new split-finger fastball for the other parts of his progress.

"I work out hard in the off-season," Bowles said. "And I think my conditioning keeps me stronger for the end of the year."

But with all the talent and drive, Bowles still need the helping hand from Berrios, who thinks people are just beginning to hear about Brian Bowles.

"(Wednesday) was a big turning point for him," Berrios said. "He gave me a chance and opened up to me. ... Now it's just a matter of how long he keeps it."

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