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.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”