During a recent interview, major league pitcher and Ludowici native Dustin McGowan discussed several issues regarding the upcoming season.
McGowan, 27, has pitched for Toronto Blue Jays since the club drafted him in 2005. In December, he re-signed with the Jays for another year.
"It felt good to get the contract signed," he said. "Toronto is the only organization I’ve ever been with, so it was good to get that resolved. It’s always good to know you have a job
Though McGowan is entering his sixth year with the team, it will be his first without friend and fellow pitcher Roy Halladay.
Halladay, a former Cy Young winner and a six-time All Star, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies last month. Though McGowan will miss his peer, he said he understands the deal.
"Well, I think it was good for both sides. Roy was the face of the organization for 10 years. He did everything he could as player, but he’s never been to the playoffs," McGowan said. "I think he felt with Philadelphia, he had a better chance for that. For us, we got a lot of young players who hopefully can help us now [and] also in the future."In 2008, the Blue Jays finished above .500 (86-76), and were in contention for the playoffs right up until the end of the season. Last year, their record fell to 75-87 — 11 games below previous year’s mark — and their playoff run ended in September.
Regarding his team’s chances of making the playoffs in 2010, McGowan said, "Of course we can do it, but it’s going to be tough. We’re in more of a rebuilding year and we have several young players who have to develop. We’ll know more when the season gets here."
McGowan is currently in Florida preparing for spring training. The Blue Jays begin training in Dunedin, Fla., later this month. Their first preseason game is March 3 against the Detroit Tigers.