The Toronto Blue Jays revealed this morning that Dustin McGowan will indeed be their fifth starter heading into the 2014 regular season. Along with that distinction comes an assignment that is never regarded as something for the faint-hearted. McGowan will make his first start of the season in the Jays’ home opener on April 4 when they host the New York Yankees.
The anxiety surrounding Opening Day and a club’s home opener at any big league ballpark is very intense. Being given the nod as the starter in your team’s first home game of the season is something that McGowan will not only welcome, but it is something that he will embrace wholeheartedly as well.
McGowan knows all too well that he has been given an endless amount of chances to regain his strength and finally get back to being healthy, all the while staying in the Jays’ organization. Giving a solid performance in the home opener will serve as the perfect gesture to give back to the organization that has embraced his struggles since being drafted all the way back in 2000.
At this point in McGowan’s career, the righty out of Savannah, GA simply just wants the ball whenever he has the chance. No longer is he saying that he will do whatever the club asks of him. He wants to take the mound because he believes he is ready to make the next step, which is to complete a full season and perhaps pitch just under 200 innings. This would be a huge plus for a Jays’ team that seems to struggle on the starting pitching front season after season.
You can expect that the determination exemplified by the injury prone McGowan will rub off on his teammates, and especially on the likes of Brandon Morrow, another Jays starter who has struggled with injuries throughout his career.
When McGowan takes the mound at the Rogers Centre next week, expect him to handle his many emotions in a way that will motivate the rest of the team to have his back for as long as he can go this season. The second coming of McGowan is upon us. He is undoubtedly the best choice to represent the Jays’ back end of the starting rotation and the right man to take the mound when the city of Toronto welcomes back the boys of summer.