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, Jake Arrieta to discuss contract extension in January

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Jake Arrieta‘s agent Scott Boras says they’ll discuss a potential contract extension with the Cubs when they meet in January to hammer out arbitration figures.

Arrieta, 30, is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $10.7 million in 2016. The right-hander followed up his Cy Young Award-winning 2015 campaign by going 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and a 190/76 K/BB ratio in 197 1/3 innings during the regular season. Arrieta pitched well in the postseason, helping the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908.

While Boras clients tend to go to free agency, it’s not always the case. Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Nationals earlier this year.

Report: Koji Uehara close to signing with the Cubs

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10:  Koji Uehara #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game three of the American League Divison Series at Fenway Park on October 10, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports, citing a source as well as Nikkan Sports, that reliever Koji Uehara is close to signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cubs.

Uehara, 41, finished the 2016 season with a 3.45 ERA and a 63/11 K/BB ratio over 47 innings. He missed some time in the second half with a strained right pectoral muscle. When Uehara returned from the disabled list on September 7, he tossed 11 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and two walks through the end of the regular season. So there’s at least some evidence, albeit in a very small sample size, that Uehara has stuff left in the tank.

The Cubs recently acquired closer Wade Davis from the Royals. Uehara would join Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Jr., Justin Grimm, and Mike Montgomery in what is once again a very deep bullpen.