Dustin McGowan continued his rehab schedule this past week as he started his fourth and fifth games of the year for the Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays, according to the team website.
On July 15, taking on the Bradenton Marauders, a minor-league team affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, McGowan came out strong in the first inning by striking out Robbie Grossman and Ramon Cabrera.
He also disposed of Jarek Cunningham, who hit a dribbler to the pitcher and then was thrown out at first. In the top of the second, Aaron Baker also hit a ground ball to McGowan, and the Long County native easily threw him out at first. The Pirates’ next man grounded out, and then McGowan sent batter Evan Chamber back to the dugout with a strikeout.
In the top of the third, McGowan gave up a single to Adalberto Santos but then disposed of Carlos Paulno and Benji Gonzalez, who both grounded out. McGowan walked Robbie Grossman, but having faced 10 batters, the Blue Jays’ coaching staff had seen enough and replaced the Ludowici native with Ryan Tepera.
According to the online article, the Class-A Blue Jays lost the game, 8-1. To McGowan’s credit, the game still was scoreless when he was pulled in the third inning.
For the night, McGowan faced 10 batters, allowed one hit and one walk and struck out three batters in 2 2/3 innings.
On Wednesday, McGowan was back on the starting mound as the Jays faced the Fort Myers Miracles, who are the Class-A team for the Minnesota Twins. Though the Blue Jays lost the game, 5-6, McGowan had another good outing, according to the team website. He went 2 2/3 innings and faced 11 batters, allowing no runs, two hits and two walks while striking out four batters.
McGowan now has had five starts in his rehab with the Dunedin team, going 9 2/3 innings. In those games, he has allowed eight hits, four earned runs, six walks and he’s struck out 11 batters. McGowan’s ERA is 3.72 and his record is 0-2.
McGowan, the Blue Jays’ No. 1 draft choice in 2000, is trying to come back from a tear in his right shoulder rotator cuff and return to the majors.
The Toronto Blue Jays have a 50-49 record and are in the fourth spot in the American League Eastern Division, 10 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox (59-37). In the wild-card race, they are 8 ½ games behind the New York Yankees (57-39). According to the Toronto Blue Jays website, the team is hoping McGowan can return to the majors in September.
Mike Riddle covers Long County sports.