Toronto Blue Jay pitcher Dustin McGowan took a big step toward his comeback last Sunday, as the right-hander faced batters for the first time in more than 19 months.
On Sunday, with spring training in full swing, team staff members approached the Long County native and asked him would he like to throw in a side session or face live batters; McGowan chose the batters.
So at Bobby Mattick Training Center, McGowan faced Travis Snider, Randy Ruiz, J.P. Arencibia, and Joey Gathright; it was the first time the pitcher had thrown to a batter since July 8, 2008, when he had to leave a Baltimore Orioles game with his right shoulder injured.
According to a report by Anthony DiComo on MLB.com, in the session, McGowan looked sharp, and Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said, "I’m impressed in what I see."
With only two days until the Jays kick off their preseason schedule, McGowan’s progress was good news to both him and the club. The organization is still trying to establish a solid starting rotation.
McGowan is scheduled to pitch again on Friday, and with his progress. He now will pitch in the upcoming Grapefruit League games. The team is still not sure if McGowan will be ready to go on opening day, but according to reports Gaston appears to be rooting for him.
In the same report, Gaston said, "That would be great if he could break camp with us.
"He’s been a kid that I’ve really been pulling for hard. He’s such a young kid, and you’d love to see this kid have a career, not ending by having a bad arm."