Blue Jays adjust Marcus Stroman’s return strategy

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The Toronto Blue Jays have made some interesting adjustments to the schedule of Marcus Stroman, who is in the midst of an unlikely comeback from his torn ACL in spring training. As Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair reports,  Stroman is now scheduled to throw a 40-pitch simulated game on Monday in Florida.

Stroman had originally been scheduled to make a live rehab appearance this Friday, but the Blue Jays revised timetable for the young righty has gained some added clarity, as Blair writes that “tentative plans now call for Stroman to pitch at triple-A Buffalo in the first week of September.” My initial reaction to the news of the sim game was that it could be a setback, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Not even close.

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In speaking with general manager Alex Anthopoulos, Blair learned that the move from live action to simulated game has more to do with the level of control that it gives the organization over his work.

“It’s easier to control the conditions in a sim game,” Anthopoulos told Blair. “With sim games we can roll over an inning, etc. We can control everything. Medical staff just felt this is the right way to go. I’ve seen videos of his bullpen sessions, and he looks great.”

The schedule also calls for Stroman to follow Monday’s 40-pitch simulated game with a  55-pitch simulated game the following Saturday, August 29th. With the AAA Buffalo Bisons’ season ending on September 7th, one is left to assume that Stroman would jump directly to that level if these simulated games produce encouraging results. If that’s the case, the Blue Jays believe in Stroman as much as he believes in himself, and why not?

I’ve continued to preach caution when it comes to Marcus Stroman’s return, but as these stories continue to move us in the right direction I become more and more open to the idea of him appearing in Toronto this September. Not just appearing, but doing something I never would have assumed: starting a game.

Would this be a replacement for Drew Hutchison? If so, where does that leave Hutchison? Perhaps the rising pitch counts are to stretch out Stroman as quickly as possible, only to revert him back into a bullpen role when the organization is satisfied that he is ready? There’s more questions than answers today, but there’s also more hope.

So circle Monday on your calendar, Blue Jays fans. Marcus Stroman hasn’t fallen short of a goal yet, and at some point, you wonder if he ever will.

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