Chatted with Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi for a while pregame and covered a number of topics. Among them was the situation concerning injured right-hander Dustin McGowan.
For a while now, McGowan’s name has been excluded from the list of arms rattled off when talking about the rotation next year. His comeback from shoulder surgery last year has been slow and he blew out his left knee earlier this year.
Ricciardi said on Thursday that McGowan is throwing again and noted that his recent progress has been promising. That being said, it’s still far too soon to set any kind of expectations for the pitcher for the spring.
“He looks really good. The ball is really coming out of his hand well,” Ricciardi said. “He feels really good. There’s another kid that you’re just rooting for him, because he’s had so much bad luck.”
Ricciardi said McGowan is currently up to 110-115 feet in his throwing program and could be on a mound some time next week.
If McGowan can defy what have seemed to be slim odds for a while now, and return to the Blue Jays’ pitching staff, it could provide a big boost to the club. Ricciardi didn’t rule out bringing him back as a reliever, though. It will certainly be one fo the storylines to look forward to during Spring Training.
Other items from the discussion: Ricciardi believes Jason Frasor and Scott Downs could split the closer duties next season; Catching prospects J.P. Arencibia (kidney surgery earlier this month) and Brian Jeroloman (upcoming hip surgery) are out of the Arizona Fall League; Ricciardi believes Kyle Phillips could be in the mix as a backup catcher next year; Robert Ray, Brad Mills and Reidier Gonzalez will pitch in the AFL.
Oh, as for Ricky Romero?
“You know what?” Ricciardi said. “You need a wheelbarrow to take his balls to the mound. That’s how big they are.”
SEATTLE MARINERS (79-73)
Third place AL West, 11.0 GB
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
3. Jose Lopez, 1B
4. Mike Sweeney, DH
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Bill Hall, LF
7. Matt Tuiasosopo, 2B
8. Josh Wilson, SS
9. Rob Johnson, C
Starter: RHP Felix Hernandez (16-5, 2.45)
1. Jose Bautista, RF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Travis Snider, LF
8. Raul Chavez, C
9. John McDonald, SS
Starter: LHP Ricky Romero (12-9, 4.28)
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