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.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.