Dustin McGowan

Dustin McGowan, who’s thrown just 21 innings since 2009, gets extension from Blue Jays

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Dustin McGowan is still trying to come back from a series of arm injuries to reestablish himself as a viable big-league pitcher and has thrown just 21 innings with a 6.43 ERA since 2009, yet today the Blue Jays signed the 30-year-old right-hander to a two-year contract extension worth at least $3 million.

John Lott of the National Post reports that McGowan will get $1.5 million in both 2013 and 2014, plus a $4 million option for 2015.

Obviously the Blue Jays are feeling confident about how McGowan’s shoulder has responded this spring and worried about losing him for nothing as a free agent after the season, wiping away years of sticking with him through all the injuries, but guaranteeing him millions at this point is definitely odd.

Before the arm problems derailed his career McGowan was a hard-throwing mid-rotation starter with No. 2 starter upside, but he didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2009 or 2010 and appeared in just five games last season. The odds were seemingly against McGowan making an impact this season, let alone in 2013 and 2014, so this is definitely the Blue Jays going out on a relatively expensive and confusing limb.

Video: Aledmys Diaz hits a grand slam in remembrance of Jose Fernandez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.

Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”

Here’s the video.

AL East still mathematically undecided as Red Sox lose, Blue Jays win

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.

The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.

Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.