So far, so good for Dustin McGowan's comeback

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Dustin McGowan missed all of last season following shoulder surgery, but manager Cito Gaston reports that he “looked good” during a two-inning simulated game yesterday.
McGowan tossed 44 pitches, after which Gaston noted that “he threw well, free and easy.” He’s now scheduled to appear in a minor-league game Friday and if that goes well Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun reports that McGowan is tentatively slated to make his official spring training debut in a big-league game “around March 24.”
That would leave time for just 2-3 spring appearances and likely wouldn’t be sufficient to make McGowan an option for the Opening Day roster, although Gaston has yet to rule it out. Instead, expect McGowan to begin the season on the disabled list and remain behind in extended spring training before heading out on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Before the injury he was emerging as one of the league’s top young starters, but McGowan hasn’t faced big-league hitters since July of 2008 and even avoiding all setbacks likely wouldn’t get him back into the Blue Jays’ rotation before late April or early May.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.