Expect the Dodgers to sign free-agent reliever Dustin McGowan, who is at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. The club has not confirmed an agreement.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 22, 2015
McGowan had spent 15 years in the Blue Jays organization, since being drafted in the supplementary round of the 2000 draft, four picks after Adam Wainwright. The Blue Jays go the supplementary pick as compensation for the loss of Graeme Lloyd, which connected McGowan all the way back to Rogers Clemens on the Blue Jays Roster Tree Route Map.
He has been in the Blue Jays organization for so long that five of the minor league clubs he's played on (Medicine Hat, Auburn, Charleston, New Haven, Syracuse) are no longer Blue Jays affiliates.
McGowan was a 23-year-old when he was called up from double-A to make his major league debut in a start against the Rangers. He allowed a run and three walks, but he struck out six and gave up just two hits.
His battle with various injuries have been well documented but I just want to put his career transactions here just to show just how many times he found himself on the disabled list (table from Pro Sports Transactions):
|2000-06-05||compensation round A pick (#33 overall)|
|2001-03-03||assigned to minor league camp|
|2003-11-20||added to 40-man roster|
|2008-07-01||surgery on right shoulder (date approximate)|
|2008-07-09||placed on 15-day DL with sore right shoulder|
|2008-10-02||activated from 15-day DL|
|2009-04-05||placed on 15-day DL recovering from surgery on right shoulder|
|2009-10-13||activated from 15-day DL|
|2010-04-04||placed on 15-day DL recovering from surgery on right shoulder|
|2010-04-15||transferred to 60-day DL recovering from surgery on right shoulder|
|2010-11-10||activated from 60-day DL|
|2011-03-12||placed on 60-day DL recovering from surgery on right shoulder|
|2011-07-02||assigned to minors for rehab|
|2011-08-05||assigned to A (for rehab)|
|2011-09-05||activated from 60-day DL|
|2012-04-03||placed on 15-day DL with plantar fasciitis in right foot|
|2012-05-25||transferred to 60-day DL with plantar fasciitis in right foot|
|2012-10-31||activated from 60-day DL|
|2013-03-31||placed on 15-day DL with right shoulder injury|
|2013-04-07||transferred to 60-day DL with sore right shoulder|
|2013-05-14||assigned to minors for rehab|
|2013-06-08||called up from minor league rehab|
|2013-06-08||activated from 60-day DL|
|2013-08-01||placed on 15-day DL with strained right oblique|
|2013-08-30||assigned to minors for rehab|
|2013-09-01||called up from minor league rehab|
|2013-09-01||activated from 15-day DL|
|2014-11-01||team declined to exercise contract option, making player a free agent|
And despite it all he managed to make it all the way back to the major leagues twice, missing the entire 2009, 2010, and 2012 seasons. Before 2014 he told me in an interview that he has set a goal of playing all season, and hey, he achieved that goal. (One of my favourite parts of that interview was when he said that he never got depressed over all his injuries because he was awarded with the privilege of watching his daughter grow up.)
My best Dustin McGowan memory came in September 2011 when McGowan was making his first big league appearance since mid-2008. The Red Sox already laid a drubbing against the Blue Jays by the time he was called in from the bullpen but the remaining fans at the Rogers Centre gave him a huge standing ovation as he came in and when he was taken out of the game.
Best of luck in Los Angeles, Dustin, Toronto will miss you.