Dustin McGowan returns to the majors after a three-year absence

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The last time Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan threw a pitch in a major league baseball game was in 2008.  In between then and now he has had multiple shoulder surgeries and a knee injury. But for the past month or so he has been throwing rehab games and they’ve been pretty good. In twelve rehab starts between high-A and double-A he has a 2.80 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 35 and a third innings.

And now the Jays have activated him.

Earlier this summer there was talk of turning him into a closer. It’s unclear where the Jays stand on that right now, but his starts in the minors notwithstanding, you’d expect that we’d see him out of the pen sometime this week. But really, given his long road back, seeing him in any role whatsoever would be pretty spiffy.

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young dies at 51

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Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young died on Tuesday at the age of 51, the team said. Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in February.

Young, 51, pitched parts of six seasons in the majors from 1991-96. He began his big league career with the Mets in 1991 and stayed with the team through ’93. He famously failed to win a game between April 24, 1992 and July 24, 1993. During that span of time, he went 0-27. It was a great example, even back then, of the uselessness of won-lost records. Young posted a respectable 4.17 ERA in ’92 and 3.77 in ’93.

Former pitcher Turk Wendell, who was Young’s teammate with the Cubs in 1994-95, called Young “a true gentleman.”

Blue Jays designate Jason Grilli for assignment

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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that the club designated reliever Jason Grilli for assignment as part of a handful of roster moves. Outfielder Dwight Smith was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was activated from the 10-day disabled list, and pitcher Chris Smith was recalled from Buffalo as well.

Grilli, 40, struggled to a 6.97 ERA with a 23/9 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings of work this season in Toronto. The right-hander similarly struggled in the first half last year with the Braves before being acquired by the Jays but Grilli’s role had diminished and most of the rest of the bullpen has been pulling its weight.

Grilli should draw some interest — perhaps from the Nationals — as his peripheral stats suggest he’s not nearly as bad as his ERA suggests.