Marcum to return Tuesday

Marcum to return Tuesday

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays can ill-afford to go an extended period of time without both Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan in their rotation, but if everything goes according to plan, Marcum will rejoin the staff on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Marcum completed a successful rehab outing with Class A Dunedin, showing no issues with the right elbow injury that has sidelined him since June 19. By the time the fifth spot in Toronto's rotation rolls around on Tuesday, the Jays are hoping to activate the recovering starting pitcher from the disabled list.

"We're probably leaning toward Marcum by then," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "That's what we're leaning toward. He looked good, so we'll wait and see if he's stiff or not. I hear he's fine. More than likely, it will be him, but we're still going to wait a couple of days."

In his lone rehab appearance with Dunedin, Marcum spun four shutout innings, in which he allowed no hits or walks and finished with six strikeouts. Gaston said Marcum threw more than 50 pitches and added that the righty would likely have a pitch count of around 65 if he starts on Tuesday in Baltimore.

In 15 starts for the Blue Jays this season, the 26-year-old Marcum has posted a 5-4 record with a 2.65 ERA. He's limited opposing hitters to a .198 batting average -- one of the best marks in the American League -- and has compiled 86 strikeouts over 98 2/3 innings.

Unlike with Marcum, there's still no clear timetable for McGowan's return to the rotation. McGowan, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder injury on July 9, met with arm specialist Dr. Timothy Kremchek on Thursday and will be further evaluated in two weeks.

"[Kremchek] wants it to calm down a little bit more," said Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, referring to McGowan's ailing shoulder.

While McGowan -- 6-7 with a 4.37 ERA in 19 starts this year -- is sidelined, Ricciardi said the Jays will continue to use left-hander John Parrish in the rotation. At some point later this year, Ricciardi said Toronto will likely promote lefty David Purcey, who is 7-6 with a 2.76 ERA and 114 strikeouts over 111 innings with Triple-A Syracuse.

"We'll get Purcey up here, eventually," Ricciardi said. "He's pitched well."

Ricciardi was also asked about the status of second baseman Aaron Hill, who has been out with post-concussion syndrome since a collision with shortstop David Eckstein on May 29. Hill is currently at Toronto's complex in Dunedin, Fla., where he's only able to take part in light activities.

"The longer it goes, the more concern you have," said Ricciardi, who was then asked if Hill could be out for the remainder of the season. "I think that's how we're looking now. I don't think he is done for the year -- unless someone tells us he is -- but we're preparing for a worst-case scenario."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.