McGowan to continue rehab at triple-A

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan delivers a warm-up pitch. Kathy Willens/AP

Dustin McGowan is one step closer to pitching at the MLB level again. The Toronto Blue Jays announced Friday that they transferred McGowan’s rehab assignment from class A Dunedin to triple-A Buffalo.

McGowan started his rehab assignment with two scoreless appearances in the Florida State League. The 31-year-old pitched two innings, striking out four.

Various injuries have limited McGowan to just five MLB games since 2008. He missed the 2009 season recovering from labrum surgery then missed another year to undergo rotator cuff surgery.

McGowan returned to the MLB level in 2011, starting four games and making one relief appearance. However, he missed much of the 2012 season with plantar fasciitis in his right foot then underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

The Blue Jays are currently carrying eight relievers as they open a weekend series in New York against the Yankees. It’s conceivable that a reliever such as Mickey Storey or Brad Lincoln could be removed from the active roster to create space for McGowan at some point.

McGowan is now on the 60-day disabled list, which means the Blue Jays will have to clear a 40-man roster space for him once they activate him from his rehab assignment. The Blue Jays have indicated that they now view McGowan as a reliever.