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McGowan to be shut down for a week

McGowan to be shut down for a week

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston plans on revealing his Opening Day roster before the club travels to Houston to wrap up Spring Training with a pair of exhibition games against the Astros. That gives the Jays until April 1 to determine who will break camp with the team.

"There's no sense in dragging people down there who are not going to be on the club," Gaston said.

One player not expected to be with Toronto for the April 2 and April 3 contests at Houston's Minute Maid Park is right-hander Dustin McGowan. The pitcher has been working his way back from a right shoulder injury, but the Blue Jays have decided to shut McGowan down for one week, following a disappointing Minor League start on Friday.

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After throwing 36 pitches and topping out at just 88 mph in a Triple-A game at the Bobby Mattick Training Center on Friday, McGowan said he was fighting through a "dead arm" period. The start marked McGowan's first game appearance since July 8, 2008, when he was sidelined with a serious shoulder issue that led to surgery on July 31 that year.

McGowan said he has grown more and more fatigued as he has adjusted to working through a regular throwing program again this spring. Toronto has had McGowan on a conservative routine between starts, consisting of long-toss and flat-ground throwing sessions. McGowan will now rest for one week before being reevaluated.

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"We'll go from there," Gaston said. "The kid's been throwing since November, so he's been throwing a long time. Sometimes you come up with a dead arm, and we just hope that's what it is and he rests for seven days, and, if we can get him back a month into the season or whenever we can get him back this year, it'll be great one way or the other.

"My heart goes out for him, because I was pulling for him a lot. Not for selfish reasons, but just for him and his family. He's a good kid, and you guys know what kind of arm he had. So we're just pulling for him to come back and be able to pitch again."

Gaston added that utility man Mike McCoy (right shoulder) and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion (left wrist) should be ready to return to game action by the beginning of next week. Even so, Gaston said he will likely have both players participate in a Minor League game before using them in Grapefruit League contests this week.

"I think that's our plan," Gaston said. "We might encourage them to go play in a Minor League game -- both of them -- before they play over here."

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

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