PORTLAND — It was 12 weeks ago in this space that we looked at Brock Huntzinger’s plight.

A Sea Dogs pitcher with a solid fastball and slider combination, Huntzinger nonetheless was an alarming 0-4 with a 9.19 ERA.

At his urging, the Sea Dogs put Huntzinger in the bullpen, where his pitches might be more successful in short stints.

“He’s had some struggles out of the gate,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper said at the time. “But we like to think there are a number of good days ahead for Brock Huntzinger.”

Good call.

When the Boston Red Sox recently announced their minor league awards for June, guess who was the Pitcher of the Month?

Huntzinger got the award for going 15 impressive innings in nine games, recording a 1.80 ERA, with opponents batting .140 against him.

As a reliever, Huntzinger’s ERA is 2.95.

“It’s been a great turnaround,” Portland manager Kevin Boles said. “He commands down in the zone. When he misses, it’s down in the zone. He really has taken to this role — turned into a quality reliever.”

Huntzinger, who turned 24 this month, said it took awhile to adjust to relieving — “It was a process, getting into a routine and knowing my body. Now my arm is bouncing back. I’m feeling pretty good every time I get the call.”

Huntzinger was a third-round draft pick in 2007, out of Pendleton Heights High School in Indiana. Once a kid, he’s now a veteran who will become a minor league free agent after the 2013 season, unless Boston puts him on its 40-man roster by then.

“Everyone is on a clock,” Huntzinger said. “I didn’t feel like my time was running out. I felt confident that I could pitch at this level and beyond.

“Going to the bullpen, I’ve been able to establish myself more.”

* * *

Mike MacDonald had a nice Hadlock Field debut as a Sea Dogs pitcher, pitching seven shutout innings last Tuesday (five hits and no walks)

“Pleased with the outing and being healthy the whole way through,” said MacDonald, who left in the first inning of his initial Sea Dogs start in Trenton, with a tweaked hamstring muscle.

“I established strikes early. Able to get quick groundouts and the offense came through right away.”

MacDonald is scheduled to pitch against his old organization — the Blue Jays — today in a 1:30 start at New Hampshire.

* * *

Kevin Boles heard players offering congratulations last week and had to ask why. Seems the manager was the last to know he recorded his 700th win as a pro manager — at the age of 37.

“I feel old,” Boles joked. “That’s a lot of BP (batting practice) and a lot of fungos.”

* * *

Stephen Fife, one of the Sea Dogs pitchers traded in last year’s deadline deal between Boston and the Mariners and Dodgers, made his major league debut with Los Angeles last Tuesday. Fife pitched six innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks, striking out one. He was in line for the win until the Phillies rallied against the Dodgers bullpen in the eighth, for a 3-2 victory.

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