Griffin: Another setback for Blue Jays' hardluck McGowan
BALTIMORE-The news never seems to get better for Blue Jays' hardluck starter Dustin McGowan. Jays' manager John Farrell revealed in a pre-game chat that the 30-year-old righthander had been to see orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday for an MRI on his sore right shoulder.
Recall that McGowan, who had been expected to earn the fifth starter's role when training camp opened, had been left behind on the disabled list with a case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. With the foot having eventually cleared up, he has made several attempts to get back on the mound, but every time another physical roadblock springs up.
“He has experienced some soreness in his shoulder in this early phase of his throwing," Farrell said. "He's been shut down for two weeks and he saw Dr. Andrews for a precuationary MRI. It's confirmed there's inflammation. There's no additional damage, or new damage, but unfortunately he's shut down for two weeks."
The McGowan comeback story has been inspiring. He missed three calendar years with two shoulder surgeries and another to a knee, finally making it back to a major-league mound to a thunderous ovation at the Rogers Centre last September. He came to training camp and his four-pitch repertoire was crackling with life and renewed anticipation.
“It's disappointing on a number of levels," Farrell sympathized. "First and foremost, you think about his path that he's come through. We've all talked about the resilience and, really, an example of resiliency, but the fact is we were banking on him to be a part of this rotation, whether that was the start of the year...and we fully expect him at some point to be available, but it's a blow to our overall starting depth."
The Jays celebrated with him, rewarding the 30-year-old at the end of camp with a two-year $3 million extension, stating in 2013, with a $4 million club option for 2015. That's chump change in the oevrall scheme of major professional sports, but showed the rest of the clubhouse Jays' management's good faith in a man that had committed to coming back and has kept that one goal in mind since 2008. Then days after the contract announcement came the foot injury and when that healed, it was followed by shoulder soreness.
“He was in that early phase, never really got to flat ground or certainly not to the mound yet," Farrell said. "As he was starting back up, we felt like, not uncommon, particularly in a case like his, that he might feel, after a shutdown to get the arm going, to feel some discomfort in there or some tightness. But it persisted and he never seemed to get any freeness to it. We used precautionary measures to get him in for an MRI and that's what it revealed."
McGowan will remain in Florida trying to stay in condition as much as possible, with a date to be determined later for him picking up a baseball again. Every setback makes the chances of him pitching in the majors this year seem more and more remote. But he has surprised the experts before.