2014 Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day 2014: 5 Reasons to Be Excited

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Sep 21, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Dustin McGowan (29) pitches during the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

1) Dustin McGowan– By all accounts, the first round pick of 2000 is healthy and ready to enter the starting rotation for the first time since 2008 where he made 19 starts. The fact that we are even talking about McGowan joining the rotation is a bit of a surprise. If J.A. Happ and others hadn’t pitched themselves out of the conversation, Dustin would be headed to the bullpen. Yet, here we are. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he pitched well this spring. Although it is a VERY small sample size (7 innings), Dustin struck out 7 while walking 3. The numbers are irrelevant for him, though. The Blue Jays wanted to stretch him out to see if he can handle increased innings. To his credit, Dustin was adamant that he could and should be a starter. He was determined to convince the team that he could handle the load of starting; that his arm won’t spontaneously combust. The Blue Jays were concerned with his durability since Dustin has a history of injuries longer than his tantalizing right arm. He has had surgery to repair his rotator cuff, labrum in his shoulder as well as injuries to his oblique and knee. Adding up all of his injuries, one would wonder if his body will hold up to the rigors of pitching hopefully 170 innings. Yet, everyone and their dog has been pulling for Dustin to regain his health and return to his previous form. Everyone loves a feel good story. Sportsnet’s Mike Wilner gives us some good news about McGowan’s reentry into starting:

Look for fans to be cheering loud and proud when he makes his first start of 2014 against the New York Yankees in the first  home series of the season. Hopefully, it will be the first of many…25 would be nice.