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 Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.