In a surprise turn of events, the Toronto Blue Jays have named former starter, turned reliever, now back to starter, Dustin McGowan as their 5th starter in the rotation. McGowan, who was not on the list of pitchers competing for a spot in the rotation at the start of spring, becomes the surprising and unlikely candidate to fill the position.
J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, Ricky Romero, Marcus Stroman, Kyle Drabek–all vied for that coveted 5th spot in the Blue Jays starting rotation, but while they all faltered, it was Dustin McGowan who emerges as the victor.
Dustin McGowan is now expected to start the Blue Jays home opener on Friday, April 4th against the New York Yankees, opposite Mashiro Tanaka. Dustin McGowan will be coming full circle after battling injuries year in and year out, as the last time he was on the Blue Jays opening day roster was in 2008. McGowan’s last start in the big leagues was on September 26, 2011.
As a result of the move, the Blue Jays will begin the season with an 8-man bullpen, with Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, and Jeremy Jeffress occupying spots in the pen.
J.A. Happ, who was the early favourite to secure a spot in the rotation, will now begin the season on the 15-day DL with lower back tightness–something that has been bothering him all throughout spring training.
In a surprising twist, Blue Jays backup catcher to catch R.A. Dickey‘s knuckleball will be Josh Thole, as Erik Kratz was sent to the minor after hitting very well (.400) over spring training and getting most of the starts during Dickey’s outings. But the Jays instead opted to go with Dickey’s personal catcher the past 3 seasons in Josh Thole.
Matt Tuliasosopo, who was claimed by the Jays off waivers on March 20th, will now be put on waivers once again as he did not make the 25 man roster–and if not claimed will start the season on the Jays’ AAA Buffalo Bisons roster.
The Blue Jays opening day 25-man roster will look a little something like this.