Toronto's McGowan pitches in simulated game

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Blue Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan is feeling good this spring as he tries to make it back from shoulder surgery.

McGowan threw 30 pitches during a simulated game at Toronto's minor league complex while the rest of the team had the day off.

"Absolutely. I think that's the biggest one, the next two days, to see how I feel," McGowan said after throwing the equivalent of two innings at the Blue Jays' minor-league complex while the rest of the team had the day off.

McGowan hasn't appeared in a major league game since July 8, 2008. He had season-ending surgery three weeks later to repair a frayed labrum and a series of setbacks sidelined him last season.

"Stuff-wise, it was good," said McGowan. "I think I got a little tired in that second inning, tried to do too much. But it's to be expected the first time. I was pumped about it."

If McGowan feels no soreness Wednesday or Thursday, the plan is for him to throw one more simulated game, most likely Sunday or Monday. He then could appear in a spring game in mid-March.

"He looked great," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "Free and easy command, the slider looked really sharp. Now it's just a question of how he bounces back, (but) we're not going to try to accelerate anything. Well be more conservative than anything."

Still, he said he's not ruling out the possibility that McGowan could begin the season on the roster, and even be the fifth starter in the rotation, particularly since the schedule will allow them to go with just four in the first week.

"Certainly if he can go every five days, there's no question he would be on the roster one way or the other," Anthopoulos said. "We've talked about it. It's too early to tell. We're just not sure yet. That's why we really need to take it each outing at a time and continue to evaluate him. We're not sure what the role would be. We have to see how deep he can get into games."

There also is the chance McGowan could start the season on the disabled list. Sending him to the minors is very unlikely since he is out of options and would have to pass through waivers, meaning another team could claim him.

"We've told him that the Opening Day date (April 5 at Texas) is not something that we've targeted specifically," Anthopoulos said. "It's more of when his arm is ready to go. If we need to start him on the DL we would do that, continue to rehab him down here (in Florida) and hopefully he'd be back sooner rather than later."

NOTES: The Blue Jays sent non-roster RHPs Chad Jenkins and Zach Stewart to the minor league camp for reassignment. ... Toronto rookie Lance Broadway will start Wednesday against the Phillies. Fellow rookie RHP Kyle Drabek, son of 13-year veteran pitcher Doug Drabek, also is expected to face the Phillies, who traded him to the Blue Jays as part of the Roy Halladay deal.