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.