Blue Jays' search for starter might be inside job

Blue Jays' Dustin McGowan pitches against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill.,...

Blue Jays' Dustin McGowan pitches against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill., Sep. 26, 2011. (FRANK POLICH/Reuters)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 7:26 PM ET

As spring training approached, the Blue Jays had added a closer but not an experienced starting pitcher.

There was still time, although general manager Alex Anthopoulos said that after the official signing of free-agent left-hander Darren Oliver that he was probably done dealing for now.

Meanwhile, manager John Farrell was talking about how the improvement in the starting staff could come from pitchers who are with the team already. The rotation is the key to making the next jump to being contenders.

“That is still the one area where we’ve got to make the greatest strides to add 10 more wins,” Farrell said.

The Blue Jays were 81-81 last season.

“We can get there,” Farrell said. “It will take more quality innings from our rotation. We think Brett Cecil can regain his form of two years ago when he led (the team) with 15 games.”

Farrell talked about help possibly coming from youngsters such as Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek. He also mentioned Dustin McGowan, who returned late last season after missing three years because of shoulder surgery.

And, of course, there might be other young pitchers who emerge in spring training, the way left-hander Ricky Romero did in 2009. Drew Hutchison could be in that category.

At this stage, left-hander Ricky Romero and right-hander Brandon Morrow are 1-2 among the starters, with Morrow needing to improve of 2011.

“Brandon figured things out his final few starts; hopefully he’ll help get us some of that 10 more wins,” Farrell said.

Alvarez showed promise in his first major-league stint late last season, while Drabek opened the year in the rotation and struggled so much he spent was sent to the minors.

“Some guys didn’t have the years they wanted to have,” Romero said. “I’m sure Kyle and those guys weren’t expecting to have bad years, getting sent down and all that stuff.”

Now they have a chance to change that, and perhaps change the fortunes of their team.


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