Over the past two months, the 29-year-old has made tremendous strides in his recovery from multiple arm surgeries, advancing from pitching just one inning to pitching two and throwing his fastball with mid-90's velocity during games in extended spring training. Now, McGowan will join Dunedin, where he will pitch every five days, throwing just two innings in his first two outings before progressing to three innings in his third.
"The fact that he's back on the mound with just basically a time out with the last outing -- this is encouraging," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
The time out that Farrell is referring too would be the last seven days, when McGowan was held out of game action due to soreness in his right forearm that he first felt when throwing a bullpen session last week. The team erred on the side of caution and kept McGowan off the mound, which helped correct the issue.
"When we talked about McGowan the other day, there was a quick red flag, like 'Oh, he's had a setback,'" Farrell said. "We were just allowing him to get over some soreness that he had in his forearm."
McGowan threw another bullpen session on Wednesday and said his arm felt fine.
Once McGowan starts his rehab assignment on Saturday, the Blue Jays will have 30 days to either recall him or put him back on the disabled list.
According to Farrell, if the team wanted McGowan to go on a second rehab assignment they would have to recall him after the first 30 days for seven days of inactivity. During that week-long window McGowan would not be permitted to pitch in a game where there is paid attendance.