Blue Jays turn to Marcus Stroman to start spring


Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman has been named the Blue Jays opening starter for spring training, a spot he’s likely to earn again come opening day

It’s been a good six months for Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman.

After his inspiring comeback from a knee injury last spring to pitch in September and Toronto’s playoff run, Stroman, alongside partner-in-crime Aaron Sanchez, spent much of the offseason training at Duke University.

On Saturday, manager John Gibbons announced the expected: that Stroman would receive the Jays first start of the spring against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Stroman was on track to push for the opening day start in 2015 before his freak injury, leaving the door open for Drew Hutchison to beat out R.A. Dickey and take the mound for game one against the New York Yankees.

Entering 2016 as the staff ace, Stroman is out to prove that he’s worthy of that title not just by default, but by performance.

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After pitching 130.2 innings in his rookie year and 46.1 last season between the regular season and playoffs, Stroman’s greatest challenge may come through August and September as he continues to lead the Jays rotation.

Will Stroman’s arm hold up with similar velocity and control as he moves past 150 innings and towards 200? Though doubting Stroman is a fool’s game, this is still a factor to consider as the coming season wears on.

Barring injury or an extremely unlikely addition to the starting rotation, the 24-year-old is the runaway favourite (a lock, essentially) to lead the Blue Jays on opening day. As a young player that grows with the spotlight instead of shrinking within it, moments like that should fit just fine with one of the American League’s brightest young arms.