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Dustin McGowan to make first start since July 8, 2008

Sep 9, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

dustin mcgowan blue jays

Dustin McGowan‘s three-year journey back to the big leagues was completed Tuesday with a four-inning relief appearance and now the Blue Jays have decided to give him a start for the first time since July 8, 2008.

McGowan didn’t exactly dominate in his return outing, allowing eight baserunners and three runs in four innings against the Red Sox, but he’ll get the nod versus the Orioles on Sunday. That last start in mid-2008? Also against Baltimore.

Given his various setbacks and surgeries over the years it seems natural to see if McGowan can stay healthy in the bullpen, where plenty of former starters find new life as dominant late-inning options, but apparently the Blue Jays aren’t ready to write him off as a rotation option yet. John Farrell indicated that McGowan will be on a pitch count of 80 or so and he’s bumping Luis Perez from the rotation.

  1. dodger88 - Sep 9, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    If the Jays were playing meaniful games, I would say keep him in the bullpen. Sicne they are not, they might as well try to stretch him out to see if what he can do. If he can;t get through more than 3 or 4 innings in any start over the next few weeks then they go into camp with the bullpen in mind.

  2. Joe - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Why are they rushing this guy in meaningless September games?????!!?!

  3. cur68 - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    He’s back and still rockin’ the ‘chops, too. In his return he may have given up 3 runs over 4, but he gave them up to Ortiz, Gonzalez and, if memory serves, Youkalis. Not exactly chopped liver. If that had been Butera, Dunn & and my mom who’d cashed in on him then, sure, I’d worry a bit more. Since mom’s bridge night conflicted with her MLB schedule, and Dunn & Butera hit for less average than mom, I’m pretty sure it was those Sox guys that clobbered McGowan around.

    Unless the O’s have been raiding the Sox for talent, then I like McGowan’s chances against the O’s. This is by no means a lock for the kid, but from what I’ve seen of him in this incarnation, if memory serves, he’s a got a lively mid 90′s fastball, a dead fish change, and a pretty good hook. It’s real nice to see him back up and dealing and with his arsenal, he’s got plenty to make an impact on the O’s. I’m looking forward to this game & win or lose for the Beaver Men, all I want is for McGowan to pitch well.
    Good luck to night kid.

  4. Mark - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Just want to point a few things about for McGowan.

    His doctors have said he’s a better bet to stay healthy as a SP. Relieving is worse for him, because he’d have to appear multiple times. Pitching 6-7 innings is better on him compared to every other day for one inning. I don’t expect him to reach 7 innings this season, but the point remains.

    He actually was pretty dominant in the start. Obviously the runs allowed don’t show it, but if you take a look at the pitch FX he wasn’t missing his spots. The Adrian Gonzalez hit was on the inside corner, and he hit it the other way. Normally a routine grounder, but with the shift he got a single. The Ortiz pitch was down and away, but he got it for a 2B. The one Scutaro hit was high and out of the strike zone. Scutaro’s been hitting everything this series, so I think it’s more a case of a hot hitter and you gotta tip your cap to that. Reddick got a pitch that was down and way out of the zone, and hit the top of the RF wall and just bounced over.

    One of the Jays bloggers did a good job of showing the pitch F/X: http://blogimages.thescore.com/mlb/files/2011/09/mcgowanzone.jpg

    A ton of swinging strikes, he kept the ball out of the middle of the plate, and he gave up hits to a very hot team (that day anyways) on pitchers pitches – out of the zone, and typically down and on the corner. And he was throwing 94-96 which was nice to see.

    I was expecting a total lack of command, walks all over the place, and a lot of balls in the middle of the zone. If that was the case, I’d agree about it. But all things considered he did a hell of a job, and I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch on Sunday. If he stays healthy he’s one of the best arms on the Jays staff. Course, staying healthy is not a simple thing for Dusty :(.

    • cur68 - Sep 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      Right you are Mark; Scutaro, not Youkalis like I said and it’s Sunday not tonight (reading fail for me). A very good summary of his performance and the fact was the Sox were hitting everything that night. The Toronto pigeons foretold it and took a powder, much like they do for earth quakes in California.

      In fact, that pitch F/X track is pretty damn good, and against any other team but the Sox, might have been dominant. Now, with a start, after getting lit up in relief like that, we see what the kid’s made off: just sutures and cautery, and gauze to go with the snips and snails and puppy dog tails or does he have some grit and toughness in there too? He’ll need it, and some good luck with the post-op shoulder, to bounce right back.

    • seanmk - Sep 9, 2011 at 1:30 PM

      i agree with the he should start camp. by starting he can do strengthening activites on his days off. as a reliever you don’t really get days off, and as you said the stuff appeared to be there just that they got hits off him. these games are hardly meaningless for mcgowan, they are confidence builders regardless of how he does.

  5. proudlycanadian - Sep 9, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    McGowan looked great in his relief stint. Sometimes statistics are very unreliable. They do not take luck and positioning into account. He was a bit excited in his first inning back and gave up 2 runs. Afterwards, he looked like his old self. His fastball regularly hit 96. He had command of his pitches. If you had seen him pitch, you would have been impressed. As far as using him in the pen is concerned, medical opinion seems to be that he is better off to have normal rest between starts. He threw about 75 pitches last time and will probably be given a limit of about 85 in his start.

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