Dustin McGowan had to think for a moment when asked which of his shoulder surgeries in the last five years left him feeling the bleakest.

He eventually settled on the time doctors had to repair his torn right labrum, which for some pitchers is a career-ender.

“Was that in ’08 or ’09?” he wondered. It was 2009, one of the three full seasons out of the last four he has missed due to problems with his throwing shoulder.

In 2008 he missed half a season because of soreness, and he missed all of 2010 with a shoulder strain, which led to another surgery, which caused him to miss almost all of 2011.

“If it could’ve went wrong it went wrong in those three years.”

After more than three years away, McGowan returned to the mound on Sept. 6, 2011 to a standing ovation from the Rogers Centre crowd. He was pegged to join the rotation in 2012.

Then he hurt his shoulder again, causing him to miss yet another full season, while rehabbing from plantar fasciitis in his right foot suffered in spring training.

“It’s just a foot,” he said back then, as the team announced they had signed the oft-injured right-hander to a two-year contract extension.