Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin McGowan will start season in bullpen for Toronto Blue Jays

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Dustin McGowan pitched well for the Toronto Blue Jays today but according to comments from manager John Gibbons before the game, it doesn’t sound like he’s considered a candidate for the starting rotation.

Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com shares these words from Gibbons regarding the status of McGowan.

“He’s kind of in limbo there; we want to be able to stretch him out anyway,” manager John Gibbons said Thursday morning when asked if McGowan had been eliminated from consideration for a starting spot. “If he’s in the ‘pen for multiple innings that would benefit us quite a bit down there. We know he can do two. If he can do three, that would do wonders for us.”

McGowan looked strong in his longest outing of the spring and allowed only one hit with five strikeouts and no walks in three innings of work. I’m not sure how many swinging strikes he generated but all five of his K’s were of the swinging variety. He did get into a bit of trouble in the seventh after he allowed his only hit, a double, which was followed up with an infield error then a wild pitch. However with one out and runners on second and third he was able to strike out the next two batters to escape unscathed.

I’ve already made the case that the Blue Jays should give McGowan one last chance to start back in December and don’t lose much by doing so. I’m not going to regurgitate myself but I still feel the same way today and the fact nothing was none to upgrade the rotation this off-season just makes the situation even more of a no-brainer.

McGowan did have a setback early in camp when he experienced a bout with the flu, which makes it nearly impossible for him to be ready to break camp as a starter. However many have suggested piggybacking McGowan with J.A. Happ or Todd Redmond, including commenter Hussein Mire in our daily link dump.

I tried to think of anything that could go wrong with the idea and, other than having to risk eventually exposing someone to waivers, I don’t see why it’s not a legitimate possibility. I’m sure neither Happ or Redmond would be thrilled with the idea and it might throw their conditioning off a bit but if it helps the team win, but as professionals you would expect them to be able to cope, especially if the team is winning.

We can never take too much stock in anything the Blue Jays say publicly these days as their tune could change as soon as the need does. What’s confusing however is that the need is now – why is Dustin McGowan being relegated to a low-leverage, long reliever role?

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