McGowan, who struggled at times during Tuesday's start, left the game after the fourth inning. He allowed four runs -- two earned -- on four hits, while tossing just 66 pitches, one of which was a wild-pitch that allowed a run to score. Judging from his velocity in the start, Jays manager Cito Gaston said he knew something was not right with his pitcher.
"If you look at his velocity tonight, I think he only hit 94 [mph] one time," said Gaston of McGowan. "We could tell by the velocity that he wasn't himself."
Following the game, McGowan revealed that he had been pitching with the pain for a few starts now. However, the 26-year-old starter had been able to fight through the soreness until Tuesday.
"It's been a little tender [recently] but tonight it started barking on me a little bit," McGowan said. "[It was] there for a couple starts. Nothing serious, but tonight was a little different than the rest."
As Gaston knows full well, losing McGowan for an extended period of time could prove to be a severe setback for Toronto's starting rotation. The team's main strength this season, the starting staff has been the one positive in a season of negatives thus far.
"It's going to hurt us," Gaston said. "Dustin is a big part of this team too. He has a great arm. That's going to be a big blow for us."
McGowan is not the only injured Toronto starter, though. On June 21, the Jays placed starter Shaun Marcum on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow. The Jays have already been forced to use spot starter John Parrish to fill in for Marcum, and the team may be forced to find another if McGowan's injury keeps him out of action for any period of time.
In 19 starts this year, McGowan is 6-7 with a 4.37 ERA.
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.