McGowan back on the mound

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 PM ET

TORONTO - Right-handed pitcher Dustin McGowan (who is on the 60-day disabled list in his lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery performed in July of 2008) threw off the mound Monday for the first time since a triple-A spring training game March 19. McGowan threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session. Afterward he reported: “No problems.”

McGowan’s recovery has been an on-again, off-again misadventure for quite some time as last season he even missed time due to a knee injury that required surgery.

This spring, McGowan at one time was progressing so well that the Jays were talking about him breaking camp as one of the members of their rotation. Then came his outing in the spring training game against the Pirates affiliate where he experienced a “dead arm”. Now he is back and throwing but given his history and the problem with shoulder injuries there are no guarantees that he will make it back to the big-league level. The Jays have put no timetable on his latest recovery.

START THEM UP

Over the just completed nine-game homestand the Jays starters were lights out as they went 5-1 with three no decisions. Overall the starters over that nine-game stretch allowed just 12 earned runs in 67 innings for a 1.61 ERA.

SEVENTH HEAVEN

Even though he had an 0-for-3 game in Sunday’s loss to New York, 1B Lyle Overbay has shown a dramatic rise in performance since he was switched to the seven spot in the batting order, down from the No. 5 spot that he had occupied for the first part of the season.

In the nine games that Overbay has batted seventh, he has been hitting .382 (13-for-34) with four doubles, three home runs and six RBIs.

In 47 games while hitting fifth, Overbay was batting a paltry .195.

LEFT OUT

The Jays have been having nothing but trouble against left-handed pitching this season as they are hitting a collective .200 (89-for-446) against left-handed pitchers.

In Saturday’s 14-inning marathon, their stats took another nosedive against Yankees lefty starter Andy Pettitte and lefty reliever Damaso Marte, who combined to hold the Jays to five hits over 8¹/3 innings.

On the season, the two Jays with the worst average against left-handers are 2B Aaron Hill and DH Adam Lind. Hill is batting just .105 (4-for-38) with one homer and three RBIs. As bad as that is, it is better than Lind who is batting .103 (6-for-58) with zero homers and four RBIs. The top hitter on the Jays team against left-handers? How about C Joe Buck who is batting .357 (10-for-28) with three homers and nine RBIs.

ANKLE PROBLEMS

OF Dewayne Wise, who was signed by the Jays on the weekend, is working out at the team’s minor league complex in Dunedin, Fla., at extended spring training. Wise, a former Rule 5 pick (2000) of the Jays, expects to join triple-A Las Vegas as soon as his sprained right ankle is 100%.

UP NEXT

Tuesday, Jays LHP Brian Tallet (1-1, 4.63) at Rays RHP Jeff Niemann (5-0, 2.79), Sportsnet, Fan 590.


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