3/13/2014 4:50 P.M. ET
Rogers struggles while working on changeup
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Esmil Rogers saw his struggles this spring continue as he surrendered four runs over three innings vs the Astros on Thursday afternoon.
Rogers allowed five hits, two walks and gave up a pair of back-to-back homers in the Blue Jays' 7-5 loss to Houston. He has now surrendered seven earned runs in nine innings this spring while competing for the final spot in Toronto's starting rotation.
The biggest problem Rogers has been experiencing this spring is a lack of command. He has left a lot of pitches up in the zone, and the end result has been a number of hard-hit balls.
"First inning, he was good and then he was shaky after that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The key for him is throwing enough strikes. He can be a heck of a pitcher when he gets the ball in the strike zone. We've seen it before, but that's where he runs into trouble. He has to do that, he has to do that to be effective."
To a certain extent, the subpar results can be a little deceiving, because Rogers is working on a few things that he might not necessarily try during the regular season. He is attempting to refine a changeup, but so far he hasn't had too much success with it.
The second home run of Thursday's game came on a poorly located changeup up in the zone. A better change would go a long way in improving his overall arsenal, but it's clear that it's not quite ready. Despite his struggles, Rogers intends to keep throwing it the rest of spring in an attempt to refine the pitch before the start of the regular season.
"I want to keep throwing it, because the only way I can get better is when I pitch and throw the changeup," Rogers said.
"I just have to make my pitches and working a little bit more out of the stretch and try to get my command out of the stretch because I'm a little quick when I have runners on base."
McGowan strong in return from flu
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Dustin McGowan made his return to the mound on Thursday afternoon following a 10-day absence because of a severe flu.
McGowan didn't allow a hit and struck out two during his two scoreless innings of work vs the Astros. He looked strong, sporting his typical mid-90s velocity throughout the course of his outing.
The 31-year-old appears destined for a spot in the bullpen, but he hasn't given up the hope of receiving some consideration for a starting job.
"That's where I want to be," McGowan said. "It's hard to say in my head that I'm going to be a starter, but that's where I want to be. If I'm there, great. If I'm in the bullpen, also great. It's a win-win situation, I think.
"I haven't really talked to anybody here [about starting] lately, but they're just going to keep building me up and we'll see what happens."
McGowan was always considered a longshot to crack the starting staff, but his chances diminished even further following his brief absence. He has been stretched out to only two innings, and there won't be enough time before the end of camp to get him enough work to get to where he needs to be to start.
The native of Savannah, Ga., expects to max out around four innings by the end of Spring Training. That would put him in a position to make some lengthy appearances out of the bullpen, and it's always possible he could enter the mix for a rotation spot at some point during the season.
McGowan enjoyed a resurgence during the 2013 season following years of nagging injuries. He posted a 2.45 ERA while striking out 26 in 25 2/3 innings of work.
"I felt good, and for me that's the most important thing -- feeling good," McGowan said following his outing vs the Astros. "My pitches are starting to come around and location is starting to get better, so it was a positive outing for me today."
Blue Jays Baseball Academy pulling out all the stops
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays Baseball Academy is bringing back its Super Camps for another season, and this time it will feature stops in all 10 Canadian provinces.
The baseball camps for players aged 9-16 will run from May until August with a total of 26 stops along the way. The on-field instruction will cover all aspects of the game, including hitting, defense, base running, bunting and pitching.
Another star-studded lineup of coaches has been put together, featuring some of the all-time greats to ever wear a Blue Jays uniform. It will be an opportunity for youth from across Canada to receive extensive training over the course of several days.
"We are very pleased to continue our partnership with Baseball Canada and promote participation in the game of baseball across Canada," Blue Jays vice president of business operations Stephen Brooks said.
"The Super Camp program, now in its fourth year, has given kids across the country an opportunity for elite level instruction that only Baseball Canada and our Blue Jays alumni can provide. Together we continue to encourage the growth of the game of baseball in this country."
The instructors include former Blue Jays players Roberto Alomar, Carlos Delgado, Tony Fernandez, Duane Ward, Devon White, Jesse Barfield, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Cecil Fielder. Baseball Canada and provincial baseball associations will also assist in providing quality baseball instructors.
The Super Camps are set to officially get underway in Guelph, Ontario, from May 9-11. There will be four additional stops in Ontario before the camps head west for three stops in British Columbia. The camps continue with stops in each province throughout the summer before wrapping up in Toronto on Aug. 25-27.
Registration is open to both male and female players and is now available at bluejays.com/baseballacademy. Camp registration is limited to 150 participants per camp. Each participant will receive a Blue Jays hat, a Blue Jays Baseball Academy T-shirt, a Blue Jays Baseball Academy Instructional manual and a 12-inch Alomar Baseball baseball glove.
Jays Care Foundation and the Blue Jays Baseball Academy will donate registration fees for a select number of players from local Boys & Girls Clubs from across Canada. The Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America also will donate registration fees for a select number of players.