TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman got off to a very delayed start this spring, but he seems to be quickly making up for lost time.Stroman showed a little bit of rust during the early stages of Toronto's 7-4 victory over the Yankees but improved as his outing went on. By the
TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman got off to a very delayed start this spring, but he seems to be quickly making up for lost time.
Stroman showed a little bit of rust during the early stages of Toronto's 7-4 victory over the Yankees but improved as his outing went on. By the end, he looked a lot more like the starting pitcher Blue Jays fans have come to know over the last four years.
The 26-year-old was limited to three appearances this spring because of right shoulder inflammation. He rushed at the end of camp to get ready for the start of the year but still had enough endurance to get through five innings on Sunday.
"I'm really happy with how my arm has progressed," said Stroman, who struck out eight and walked three. "I feel really strong. I think my stuff is right where it needs to be. I think I just made some bad pitches in certain counts. As I progressed, I was a little better with the location of those pitches -- 0-2, 1-2, especially up in counts. I'm not worried about it. Just focus a little bit more on my bullpen in between [starts] and look forward to getting out there next start."
Stroman's only rough inning came in the second with two men out. It started with a walk to Giancarlo Stanton and got a little worse when Didi Gregorius hit an RBI double. Neil Walker followed with an RBI single and then Brandon Drury delivered the big blow with a two-run shot to left.
The most frustrating part for Stroman is that Drury's home run came on an 0-2 slider that hung up in the zone and caught way too much of the plate. Stroman was looking for the strikeout, and instead Drury hit the ball a projected distance of 387 feet. Not exactly what Stroman had in mind.
"I went back and looked at film, it was probably one of the worst sliders I've ever thrown in my life," Stroman said. "I'll just cast it out. That's something I think I'll hit on going forward. Just looking forward to my next start."
Stroman was expected to be limited to approximately 85 pitches on Sunday, and that's the exact number he ended up with. By the time Stroman takes the mound again, on Saturday against the Rangers, he should be properly stretched out and will no longer have to worry about being protected by manager John Gibbons.
"I thought he was very good," Gibbons said. "That one inning, three hits he gave up, and they were big ones. But I thought he had a really good breaking ball. A lot of strikeouts today for the number of innings he threw. He had a really good feel for his changeup. ... I like where he's at and now he's good to go from here on out. We really won't have to monitor him, just let the game dictate that."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.