Toronto Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan is out for at least four weeks with a tear in his right rotator cuff, and will undergo further examination to determine whether he'll require surgery.
The news came after Toronto's 9-8 home win over Baltimore on Wednesday. McGowan was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day after pain in his throwing shoulder forced him out of his start on Tuesday.
McGowan is slated to meet with specialist Dr. Timothy Kremchek in the coming days.
"The severity of it we won't really know until it calms down," said Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi. "Then we'll know that the process is.… Right not we're looking at probably longer than four weeks."
The Blue Jays recalled reliever Brian Wolfe from triple-A Syracuse to take McGowan's roster spot, and did some juggling to the starting rotation.
Brian Tallet, who pitched two perfect innings of relief in Tuesday's 7-6 home win over Baltimore, will come out of the bullpen to start Sunday in place of McGowan. John Parrish, filling in for the injured Shaun Marcum, will start Thursday in place of Roy Halladay, who'll be pushed back a day to pitch against the New York Yankees on Friday.
Jesse Litsch, Friday's scheduled starter, goes Saturday.
"I certainly hope we don't have any more [injuries]," said manager Cito Gaston. "It's starting to be a problem."
McGowan, 26, underwent an MRI after leaving Tuesday's game after just four innings and 66 pitches, saying the pain was too much to bear.
His velocity was down noticeably, in the low nineties rather than in the mid- to high nineties that is his norm.
"It's been tender, but tonight it really started barking on me," said McGowan, who also felt some discomfort during his last outing, a 4-2 loss at Seattle on July 2 during which he threw 76 pitches. "Tonight, it just went a little overboard with it."
McGowan is 6-7 with a 4.37 ERA in 111 1/3 innings this season, his second as a full-time starter. Last year he went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA in 27 starts.
Purcey waits in wings
If McGowan is out for an extended period, 2004 first-rounder David Purcey would likely replace him in the rotation, although Gaston suggested that Tallet might get some consideration as well.
The good news is that Marcum (right elbow) should be ready to go after the all-star break and is tentatively slated to pitch July 21 at Baltimore after a rehab start in the minors July 16.
"Right now [Marcum] is on pace to pitch against Baltimore," said Ricciardi. "We'll see; it's a long way between now and then."
Halladay, A.J. Burnett and Litsch will start the first three games out of the break in Tampa Bay.