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.

Brewers’ and Dodgers’ benches empty after Manny Machado and Jesús Aguilar get into it

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The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.

With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.

Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.

It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.