Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman aiming for the Opening Series

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Marcus Stroman
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Marcus Stroman /

Marcus Stroman had a solid start on Saturday and mentioned after the game that he hopes to start in the first series of the season against the Yankees.

The Blue Jays have had a lot of injury troubles thus far during spring training, but they definitely saw something encouraging on Saturday when Marcus Stroman took the hill.

The talented right-hander threw two innings against Canada’s Jr. National team, not allowing a hit, striking out two batters, and giving up a walk. The results obviously are encouraging,  but not terribly important in terms of numbers. The important thing is that he left the start feeling good and moving in the right direction before Opening Day.

As the top starter for the Blue Jays last year and having the American League’s 4th lowest ERA, Stroman was expected to start the Opening Day game against the Yankees this season, but that was before he had a hiccup with shoulder inflammation earlier this spring. Saturday represented his first start in Grapefruit League action, and an important step in getting him back to being fully healthy.

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Originally it wasn’t known how long he would be out, but as has been the case for Stroman throughout his young career, he’s been a very fast healer. In fact, if it were up to him, he’d still be getting the ball on Opening Day. That said, because of how hard he’s worked to get back and how much preparation he put into his offseason, he is already back on the hill and looking to get the season started without much of a delay whatsoever.

In a post game interview on Saturday, he mentioned that he’s looking forward to pitching against the Yankees when the regular season started. For those of you who haven’t looked at the regular season calendar yet, that means his goal is to start in one of the first four games of the regular season, and after Saturday’s performance that looks a little more feasible.

As things currently stand, there are 15 days until that turn in the rotation would come up, so it actually may work out well for Stroman, assuming the Blue Jays are willing to let him try and reach that goal. They have to be encouraged that he’s working hard to get back, but as one of their most valuable assets, it’s also prudent to make sure that he’s healthy for the entire season, rather than focusing on when his season will begin in general.

If he can ramp up his pitch count by 20 or so pitches in each of his two spring outings, don’t be surprised at all to see him out there in the opening series. It’s obviously really important to him, and as long as he’s healthy it should be just as important to the Blue Jays as well.

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