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MLB Toronto Blue Jays

Dustin McGowan Vying For A Spot In the Toronto Blue Jays Bullpen

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It’s sometimes difficult to feel empathy for professional athletes and their million dollar contracts and grandeur lifestyles, however, Dustin McGowan and his injury struggles pulls at my heart strings.

McGowan has had the worst injury luck of any player in my recent memory, he is about as fortunate as the guy who wins the lottery and then dies the next day.

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Dustin McGowan in the first round of the 2000 Amateur Baseball draft out of high school. McGowan proceeded to make his major league debut five years later in 2005 and appeared on the cusp of a dominating major league career as a front of the rotation starter.

In the middle of the 2008 season McGowan experienced shoulder pain which required season ending surgery to repair his shoulder labrum. This began a long list of hard luck injuries unbeknownst to McGowan at the time he would not pitch again in the majors until 2011. McGowan would suffer a knee injury in 2009 while rehabbing his shoulder that required surgery to repair cartilage damage.

Fast forward to 2010, McGowan had rehabbed his shoulder and knee and was preparing for a mid-season return to the Blue Jays, when McGowan suffered yet another setback tearing his rotator cuff that required you guessed it, surgery.

On Sept. 6, 2011, McGowan made his long awaited return to the majors over three years after suffering the original shoulder injury. McGowan ended the season making five appearances and everything appeared to be on the up and up for the 2012 season.

The 2012 season began like a bad scene from the movie “Groundhog Day”as McGowan suffered a setback in spring training that saw him back on the disabled list for shoulder discomfort. McGowan would eventually have arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder and hasn’t pitched back in the majors since.

The Toronto Blue Jays announced today that Dustin McGowan who experienced neck pain earlier in spring training is healthy and will be vying for a bullpen spot with the big club. McGowan has yet to pitch in a spring training game but has been in Dunedin with the team.

So to recap the misfortunes of McGowan, he had shoulder surgery in 2008, knee surgery in 2009, rotator cuff surgery in 2010 and arthroscopic shoulder surgery in 2011. I think if anyone deserves a kiss from lady luck it’s McGowan.

Here is hoping he can remain healthy if not for the Blue Jays for his own personal sanity.

Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.