Jays' McGowan set to start rehab

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan sits on the bench during practice at their MLB American...

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan sits on the bench during practice at their MLB American League spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, February 23, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:12 PM ET

Dustin McGowan is set to start a rehab assignment with the Dunedin Blue Jays, starting with a two-inning stint on Saturday.

McGowan, who hasn’t pitched in a big-league game in nearly three full years because of multiple surgeries, has been slowly working toward this moment when the clock once again starts ticking on his career.

From tomorrow, he will have 30 days to produce positive results that could lead him back to the majors. If there is a setback, the clock can still be re-set on further rehab assignments, so there remains no hard deadline, but this is definitely a milestone.

Just last week he had a tiny setback with forearm stiffness, but that has passed.

“When we talked about McGowan the other day, there was a quick red flag that he had a major setback,” said manager John Farrell. “It was just a matter of allowing him to get over some soreness in his forearm. He’s back on the mound and will start his major league rehab on Saturday.

“He’ll go two innings his next two outings and then he’ll go three innings after that. He’ll be on a five-day routine starting Saturday and beyond.”

Reliever Casey Janssen, recovering from a forearm strain, is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Dunedin this week, as well.

Grinding It Out

When Jason Frasor tossed a scoreless eighth inning Wednesday, it was his 446th appearance as a Blue Jay, tying him with Tom Henke for second place on the Blue Jays all-time list.

In his eighth season with the Jays, Frasor, 33, is in line to become the Jays all-time appearance leader this month. He needs seven appearances to pass Duane Ward’s club record of 452 games.

Double-Trouble

One of the major keys to Brandon Morrow’s recent run of dominant pitching has been the development of his two-seam fastball to complement his four-seamer.

“He’s been able to get ahead by commanding his 91-mph fastball and then step on it at 96,” said Farrell. “Those are two drastically different pitches, even though they’re both fastballs.

“He’s had more consistent command of his fastball and better strike percentage, particularly first pitch. I think those very simple basic principles to pitching have provided him more consistency.”


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