|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures|
There was something very special about watching Dustin McGowan's long-awaited return to the mound last night. At the time, it felt so surreal to watch someone who I admittedly though would never pitch in the bigs ever again.
It was if we were transported back to 2008; a year in which the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation comprised of Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Shaun Marcum, Jesse Litsch, and Dustin McGowan.
And just to show you how much the roster has changed since mid-2008, the only surviving members of the Blue Jays roster are Casey Janssen, Jesse Litsch, Adam Lind, Shawn Camp and Dustin McGowan (h/t @BFullmer_Fan).
At first glance, a 14-0 drubbing by the Boston Red Sox would be a cause for concern. But much like John McDonald's home run on Father's Day last year, the game itself was secondary to the moment.
It was as if Dustin McGowan just picked up where he left off in 2008. He didn't blow away the competition by any means, but he held his own against one of the most deadly lineups in the American League. Not too shabby for your first outing back in three years.
I don't know if it was fate or what, but had Luis Perez not been knocked out of the game, we might have seen Dustin McGowan get the chance to throw four innings. Odds were he would make an appearance, but who knew he would do the grunt of the work?
Ever since there was talk of Dustin McGowan returning to the Blue Jays, I've always been in favour of moving him to the bullpen. With the bevy of starters the Blue Jays have at their disposal, it didn't seem necessary to have Dusty back in the rotation.
I think that performance last night changed a lot of people's minds ... including my own. If that is a small snippet of what McGowan can offer in a starter's role, then maybe having him as a starter isn't such a bad idea after all.
No matter what capacity the Blue Jays decide to use Dustin McGowan, it was just great to have him pitching again. For McGowan to overcome as many setbacks as he did over three years was nothing short of spectacular.
Plus, he brought back his patented McGowan mutton chops. I think that's a sign he'll do just fine from hereon out.