Mar 25, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays J.A. Happ (48) throws a pitch in the second inning of the spring training exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers Struggles Could Open the Door for McGowan?

Before suffering the back injury in Spring Training and prior to his very poor performance during spring training, J.A. Happ had already been penciled in as the Blue Jays 4th starting coming into spring. Well this is a prime example of why pencil’s have erasers, because J.A. Happ today once again got hit hard in his spring outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 3 innings pitched, Happ gave up 7 earned runs on 12 hits and 1 home run (to Pirates starting pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez). Just one of his many struggles during this spring, as Mike Wilner posted Happ’s total numbers in 4 starts this March.


Another option to fill the void currently left in the Blue Jays 5th spot in the starting rotation was Esmil Rogers, who started 20 games for the Blue Jays last season.

But he too had a disappointing outing, coming out of the bullpen to pitch 2 2/3 innings and giving up 10 runs (9 earned) on 9 hits, 2 walks, and 2 home runs.

Meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum, former Blue Jays starter, turned reliever Dustin McGowan pitched 4-innings in AAA and performed very well according to John Lott (@lottonbaseball), who tweeted the following:

 While McGowan did and has looked great in his outings out of the bullpen this spring, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos seems less than optimistic that McGowan would be able to start the season in the Jays’ rotation. The main concern being that the former starter from 2007-2008, has not pitched a full year in the majors since 2008, and has since battled through a multitude of injuries year after year to get back to the big leagues.




McGowan made 25 appearances out of the Jays bullpen last season, pitching an impressive 25.2 innings with 2.45 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 9.1 K/9.

Finally there is still one more option left to fill the rotation, which is one of the players to occupy a starting spot to end last season, Todd Redmond. Redmond has been pitched consistently throughout spring training, most recently a quality start on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers where he posted a line of: 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs (3 ER), 1 BB, 8 K.

As of right now, 6 days before the 2014 MLB season begins, the Blue Jays do not have a clear 5th starter. And as the struggles continue from some, the picture only gets foggier. One thing to note is that since being penciled in as a starter in the rotation early in the spring, the Blue Jays management has not verbally stated that Happ has lost that position.

Tags: Blue Jays Dustin Mcgowan Esmil Rogers Ja Happ Todd Redmond Toronto Blue Jays

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