According to comments made by manager John Gibbons, the Toronto Blue Jays are still considering Dustin McGowan for the starting rotation. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays still considering Dustin McGowan for starting rotation

Dustin McGowan is back in the conversation for the Toronto Blue Jays rotation, writes Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons insinuated before McGowan’s last appearance that he would be used out of the bullpen to start the season but already has started to change his tune.

“I’m concerned about his health, but I didn’t say he had to be in the bullpen,” he said. “It hadn’t been determined. … When we choose to announce the team, you’ll know who everybody is and you’ll know who’s in the rotation and who’s not and we’ll just leave it at that.”

The Blue Jays are tight for time if they want to have him stretched out for the start of the season. As Kennedy tells us, McGowan is scheduled to throw 65 pitches in a minor league start on Tuesday and will receive one more start next Sunday where he will throw up to 85 pitches.

Todd Redmond and Esmil Rogers both pitched well in their last respective starts and Redmond in particular has looked sharp this spring. Lefty J.A. Happ, who was all but guaranteed a rotation spot this off-season, is still in the conversation but has struggled with performance and health since the start of camp.

Redmond carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning on Saturday and needed only 48 pitches (43 strikes) to slice through the Detroit Tigers lineup for 18 outs. He allowed three earned runs in the sixth but overall it was an impressive performance to say the least from 28-year-old. Blue Jays’ pitching coach Pete Walker said Redmond “made it look easy” and sounded impressed with the strike-throwing right-hander.

So what will this team’s starting rotation look like on Opening Day? I don’t think anyone is entirely sure of that answer just yet, not even the Blue Jays themselves, but at least it sounds like McGowan will be getting a fair shot.

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  • Justin Jay

    “Made it look easy” is spot on. Redmond was phenomenal through 5. 8 Ks, 4 of them looking.

  • garethsmith

    I have to disagree with you Justin, redmond as usual looked good the first time through the Tigers order but a guy like him really can’t go deep, and yesterday’s game proved that fact. Once the tigers got a good look at his stuff, they hit him hard and he couldn’t adjust. Look at his stats from last year, he almost never made it out of the 5th inning without significant damage, putting a guy like Redmond in the rotation will only put a larger strain on our bullpen because someone will have to come in and throw 2-3 innings on his good days or mop up 5+ innings on his bad days. Also hitters yesterday which were mostly AAA guys were hitting his fastballs hard, fortunately they were right at our guys so they were outs for the most part. If we hope to get into the 2nd wild card this season we need guys who can give us innings, and Redmon cannot. I agree Mcgowan should be in the rotation conversation but man, too little too late, they should have done this 3 weeks ago and stretched him out slowly, AA/Gibbons/Walker made a massive mistake by giving too many innings to Redmon and not enough to McGowan this spring. This team’s talent is being mis-managed……….

  • Kevin

    I’d like to see McGowan prove himself, but I think it might be a little unrealistic to think he’ll start the season in the rotation. It pains me to say it, but I think Esmil is going to get the last spot. Really wish we had some other options, but he seems to be favored over Redmond. I don’t like either of them honestly as the 5th starter but I hate Happ. Its all speculation though who knows