TORONTO -- Dustin McGowan will make his first Major League start in more than three years on Sunday, and he is "thrilled".
McGowan, who officially made his return to the Majors in a relief appearance on Tuesday against the Red Sox, will toe the rubber in the Blue Jays' series finale against the Orioles.
"That's what I wanted to do," said McGowan, on earning a crack in the rotation. "I've got to get ready to do it."
The once highly touted right-hander -- returning from multiple surgeries to his shoulder and knee -- expected to finish the season in Toronto's bullpen, despite hearing speculation might get the chance to start.
"I was a little bit shocked," McGowan said. "I honestly didn't even think about it. I didn't even know if I'd be starting this year at all. So yeah, it was a complete surprise."
McGowan threw four innings on Tuesday, surrendering three runs on five hits. He consistently hit the mid 90s on the radar gun.
Cecil's days as starter could be numbered
TORONTO -- Friday's start against the Orioles could mark one of the last of the 2011 season for Brett Cecil.
For a variety of reasons, primarily Cecil's inning count, manager John Farrell has mulled over the idea of shutting the left-hander down. Between Triple-A and the Majors, Cecil has thrown a combined 188 1/3 innings, eclipsing his combined total of 183 2/3 from last year.
"I think one thing we monitor every time he takes the mound is that 'what is the stuff he's bringing today? How is he responding and bouncing back after he takes the mound?'" Farrell said. "That might give us the opportunity to spot someone else later in the month."
Cecil's 4-8 record and 4.60 ERA entering Friday are discouraging, but his outstanding splits against lefties (.180 batting average against) and apparent lack of stamina -- as seen in his diminished velocity -- could be reason to move Cecil to the bullpen.
"I won't rule it out," Farrell said. "But at the same time we can't make every one a reliever.
"We're well aware of his ability to attack left-handers, and he's been very good at it, but the fact remains we need to assemble a starting rotation first and foremost."
Farrell cited two key areas Cecil must improve upon to remain an effective Major League starter: to pitch more on a downhill angle to disguise his fastball and add effectiveness to his changeup, and secondly, try to restore velocity to his fastball through conditioning.
"We've tried to get him back to last year's velocity levels with the move back to Las Vegas [April 20]," Farrell said.
"There is not one exact reason that shines through and says 'this is what's causing the drop off. So I think the one thing that will be most beneficial once he completes this season, is to go through a rigorous training program that increases the overall core strength, in hopes to build upon stamina and overall strength of him when he takes the mound and takes on another full season."
Lind still experiencing wrist soreness
TORONTO -- Adam Lind was back in the Blue Jays starting lineup on Friday, batting fifth and playing first base, after missing two games with a sore right wrist.
Lind left Tuesday's contest against the Red Sox after the sixth inning -- the Jays were down 13-0 at the time -- feeling the residual affects from being hit by a pitch in Oakland at the end of August.
"It's fine," said Lind, prior to the Jays weekend set against the Orioles. "Just a few lingering effects."
The 28-year old, who enters Friday hitting .252 with 24 home runs, said he's still experiencing some "shooting pains" but insisted the rest had helped.
Manager John Farrell thinks the soreness has contributed to Lind's struggles at the plate. The left-handed hitter has hit just .178 since the Oakland series, watching his average dip by more than 10 points.
"Mentally and physically he's beat up a little bit," Farrell said. "It felt like a couple days of some [rest and relaxation] might do him a world of good and recharge him a little bit as we go through the final three weeks here."
Colby Rasmus, who has a sore right wrist, left Rogers Centre prior to Friday's series opener against the Orioles to join Double-A New Hampshire on a rehab assignment. Rasmus is slated to be the designated hitter on Saturday and play center field on Sunday. He will reunite with his Blue Jay teammates on Tuesday, when the club travels to Boston for a short two-game series.
James Hall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.