Surprise, surprise!

Dustin McGowan has suffered a setback in his return from the surgery that ended his 2008 campaign. This corner has been saying for months not to expect the right-hander back by the all-star break, let alone May. It’s as simple as this: The Jays have, in Roy Halladay, one of the best starting pitchers in the game today and, barring any injuries to the ace, he’ll put up another fantastic season for Toronto. But that’s where the guarantees end.

No, 23-year-old Jesse Litsch cannot be counted on as a ‘sure thing’ in the No. 2 slot. He simply hasn’t been around long enough to warrant that kind of confidence. And after that, it’s a free-for-all. I’m not saying this is a failed season before it has even begun. But I’m saying that the reality is, the remaining starters in the Jays’ rotation is going to be a patchwork job. This is why it’s so important that Toronto finds gold in at least one of its ‘reclamation projects.’

One of those projects is Matt Clement, the 34-year-old right-hander who hasn’t started a big-league game since 2006 with the Boston Red Sox. Mr. Clement happened to be on the hill today. And how did he fare?

In his second official Grapefruit League start, Clement gave up just two hits to the Tampa Bay Rays. Both were doubles though, and he also walked three compared with a pair of strikeouts. The result was two earned runs over 4.0 innings of work, and Clement left the game with a 4-2 lead.

Including his three-inning relief appearance against Team USA, Clement’s numbers so far this spring look like this: 3.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BB, 4 K. Not too shabby …

5 Responses to “Surprise, surprise!”

  1. Jay B Says:

    wow…you took a story about mcgowan feeling, what was termed as ‘the normal discomfort from wear and tear’, by his surgeon, and really ran with it…is he being truthful? who knows…is it that big a deal? no…

    let’s take a step back and remember who dustin mcgowan is…sure he’s as highly touted as they come, and has an incredibly high ceiling…but are we missing out on dustin mcgowan in the prime of his pitching days? he was 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA last season (or something like that)…losing that is causing you to panic?

    the rotation will be patchwork for sure, but it’ll be patched together by pitchers that would helped make up the best staff in the last 20 years (statistically)…

    having lived outside of TO, and being a die hard fan of a few non-local teams, it’s absolutely infuriating to read and hear of all the negativity that surrounds all TO teams…is it so difficult to succumb to the idea that this is a ‘rebuilding year’, and that we should be excited to see what our GM has put together over his tenure, rather than only focusing on everything that has gone wrong to date?

    This year might be the most memorable year we’ve had in the past decade…we could very well see the coming of age of Travis Snider, Adam Lind, Brett Cecil, Casey Janssen, JP Arencibia, Brad Mills, Ricky Romero, Davis Romero, and who knows who else…yet everywhere you turn, all you can read or hear about is how there is nothing but ‘worst case scenario’ stuff…

    no one has stopped to think that maybe adding a 94mph 4 seem fastball to jesse litsch’s arsenal makes him a front of the rotation guy…maybe david purcey is set to take the next step in his development, and was worthy of being a top 10 pick…maybe casey janssen is fully healed and will sure up the back end…maybe matt clement has his injury woes behind him…maybe brett cecil flying through 3 levels of pro ball in 1 year, was no fluke…is it ridiculous to think that all those things will come true? yes…but isn’t it equally defeatist to think that the contrary of all those statements is what’s likely to happen?

    it’s really not often that a management group is honest enough to let their fan base know that the coming year is a ‘prep year’…so why are ppl having such a hard time trying to enjoy this year for what it’s going to be? it’s the beginning of what this org’n hopes to be a sustained run of competitiveness…hop on board so you can say you supported the movement from day 1, rather than coming around in 2011 and pretending like you saw it coming…

    ppl think TO isn’t a baseball town…the truth is, it’s just not a sports town…no one seems to ‘get it’…

    sorry for the essay, but you drew my ire with your sarcastic headline and pessimistic entry…so given that you got me going like this, i’d say it was one hell of a blog entry…good piece…look forward to the response…

  2. TD Says:

    You’re right, McGowan has an extremely high ceiling. He may have top-of-the-rotation stuff one day soon (I’m sorry, but the same can’t be said of Jesse Litsch). The fact that Litsch is your No. 2 guy is not a good sign starting the year.

    I understand that it’s likely a ‘rebuilding year’ or a prep year for 2010, but let’s also make sure that we don’t take a major step backwards. That’s not good for anyone’s morale. We’ve definitely got some good players coming up through the system, and the future does look promising, but 2009 looks bleak.

    As for J.P.’s ‘accomplishments’ during his tenure with the Jays, I think most Jays fans would agree that they’ve been few and far between. Too many failed seasons. With a respectable payroll, there’s no excuse that this team hasn’t made the playoffs during his time as GM.

    And as for McGowan, the way Cito is talking, he doesn’t want to rush him back. In fact, he said it could be even 2010 before he returns. “Setback” or just bad prognosis, the May timeline was way off. We’re looking at July, August, probably 2010.

  3. Andy Mc Says:

    Jay makes many excellent points. You just add to the ridiculous Richard Griffin BS. Good post. Ya right. Rubbish, even though I think McGowan is finished.

  4. TD Says:

    Now, now. I never said it was a lost season. And if it was, I probably wouldn’t be blogging about it. I think some good things can happen, and I hope to follow them throughout the year. Having said that, a good rant about J.P.’s shortcomings can’t hurt anybody.

  5. Jay B Says:

    “I understand that it’s likely a ‘rebuilding year’ or a prep year for 2010, but let’s also make sure that we don’t take a major step backwards.”

    i don’t understand this line…how is it even possible for a rebuilding team who is committing to taking a look at as many of their prospects as possible, to take a step backwards? this is what i’m referring to when i say that ppl are obsessed with the worst case scenario…why are you finding it so difficult to hop on board and support the youth movement…do you think that because we’re in a division with the yankees, that we should be the yankees? we can’t plug all our holes through free agency, and every now and then we’ll have a down yr or two to let our youth become big league contributors…for the first time in 8 yrs, we have a group of prospects that are worth mentioning and following…stop pretending like every yr should be a world series year, and enjoy the ebs and flows of following a pro sports franchise…

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