Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
On July 8th, 2008 Dustin McGowan left a start early due to discomfort in his shoulder. 6 years later the Toronto Blue Jays have announced that McGowan has won the battle for the fifth spot in the team’s starting rotation, starting a game for the first time since. Not only has McGowan been named to the rotation, but he will be given the honour for starting on April 4th as the Yankees come to town to face the Blue Jays in the 2014 Home Opener.
Dustin McGowan entered Spring Training for the Toronto Blue Jays having an outside shot at being the 7th or 8th arm in the bullpen. But as has become a yearly rite of passage for Toronto Blue Jays teams, they had (more than one) pitcher absolutely implode over the course of this Spring.
This year’s implosion, tentatively dubbed “Happ-less” saw J.A. Happ have one of the worst stretches of pitching in recent memory. This seemingly opened up an opportunity for either Todd Redmond or Esmil Rogers to sneak into the fifth spot in the rotation.
Lacklustre performances over the spring by Rogers and Redmond opened the door to what once seemed all but impossible, Dustin McGowan sticking his foot in the door and forcing his way into the starting rotation conversation.
Several solid outings, and an increasing pitch count on McGowan’s part combined with the aforementioned awful-ness of his counterparts all but forced the Blue Jays hand in naming him to the rotation.
In a corresponding move, the Blue Jays also moved J.A. Happ to the Disabled List with a “bad back”. I don’t want to call into question the integrity of the Blue Jays medical staff and front office, but this seems to pretty conveniently coincide with the bad bout of left arm terribleness that had struck throughout the spring.
While he may not be the starter that Blue Jays fans were pining for this off-season *cough* Ervin Santana *cough*, he may be the starter that the team needs. McGowan is renowned for his “electric stuff” and has done everything the Jays have asked over his trying rehab the past 6 years. Plus, having a story like McGowan’s to distract from the abyss that is second base is a welcome diversion.