Dustin McGowan May Be Toronto Blue Jays' Next Man Up

By Thom Tsang
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Dustin McGowan is on his way back to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Depending on your perspective, that’s either a heartwarming story or a not-so-pleasant deja vu, but after missing the entire 2012 season due to the usual mix of career-threatening injuries that he’s dealt with over his career, perhaps there’s a chance that McGowan might provide an inkling of value on his still-confounding $3 million contract signed last season after all.

Though his latest time away from the majors has understandably distanced him from the spotlight he had when he completed his remarkable three-year comeback in 2011, the current status of the Blue Jays’ rotation has forced the possibility of his return back to the periphery, if not shifting it to the forefront.

That status, of course, would be the fact that the team is quickly running out of starting pitchers.

With Brandon Morrow on the DL and the heartbreaking end to Ramon Ortiz‘s last outing, the bluebirds are essentially nearing the point where they may need emergency starters to cover their emergency starters. Josh Johnson‘s return will hopefully alleviate things, but even so, there are still two spots to be filled.

One of those might go to Chad Jenkins, who was recently returned to Triple-A Buffalo and may just end up being the starting pitcher version of Mike McCoy in 2013; the other could very well be McGowan, who has been eligible to come off the DL since Thursday.

Whether the team will activate him for a start this week remains to be see, though you’d have to think that there’s really not much left to lose here.

McGowan was worked seven innings over a total of six outings in Triple-A in 2013, posting a 9.00/1.71 ERA/WHIP … so it’s not as though the expectations are going to be high here. Then again, the same could have been said about Jenkins, Ortiz and even Esmil Rogers, so perhaps it’s better to look at his 12.86 K/9 and see that as a potential positive, as opposed to the 6.43 BB/9.

In the best-case scenario, he can give the Blue Jays a few strong innings to continue building his arm strength. In the worst case, the 31-year-old’s health issues flare up again and he’s shelved once more. Considering the latter is something that the team has been used to since the dawn of time 2008, the more pertinent question here might be ‘why not?’

Besides, at this rate, Toronto might simply not have much of a choice.

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