While Gibbons is convinced that a bullpen spot is the best place to park McGowan and keep him healthy, others in the organization led by general manager Alex Anthopoulos and endorsed by pitching coach Pete Walker would like to push McGowan further to see if he can handle the rigors of the rotation.
You know, I'd like to see them try him. I think Rogers has looked ok, but none of the three (Happ, Rogers or Redmond) could possibly surprise us and put together a season that's more anything better than average. Dustin has a great arm, when, you know, he's not injured. If he could start, he could be very good. It would help the rotation a lot.
The Sun's story tells us that Dustin will pitch Tuesday and they hope to get him up to 65 pitches and then he would pitch again on March 30th, in a minor league game, where they would try to get him up to 85 pitches or so. If he could do that, he could start game 5 our home opener. That was going to be Morrow's first start. In this play, Morrow would now start game 4.
The Sun does get one thing wrong:
If McGowan makes the grade in the rotation, left on the outside looking in would by lefty J.A. Happ as well as right-handers Todd Redmond and Esmil Rogers. Happ, who has options, would likely be sent down to triple-A Buffalo to be part of the Bisons rotation. Rogers and Redmond, who are out of options, would then shift to the bullpen in long relief roles.
Happ may have an option but he's got 5 years of MLB experience, so he can't be sent down, unless he accepts the assignment, and there is very little chance he'd accept. I also doubt that the Jays would give both Rogers and Redmond long reliever roles. Rogers yes. Redmond....I'd hope we'd try to slip him through waivers.
About McGowan, in the game against the Phillies:
"The gun was 93-96 (m.p.h.) and it was pretty consistent through his three innings of work," Walker said. "He felt great after the three innings and I talked to him after each inning. It's the first time he's done that in a while and the reports are this morning that he feels really good (the day after a pitcher throws who has had as many serious injuries as McGowan is all important), so again it's encouraging stuff. He's bouncing back great. Obviously we had that flu issue (earlier in camp) which didn't help things. But we got him to three innings, he feels great and we'll see what's next for him."
The Sun says it is McGowan's job to lose. Oh, I hope they are right.