TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman's "frustrating" start to the 2018 season has resulted in a trip to the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder fatigue, the Blue Jays announced before Friday's series opener against the Red Sox.
Stroman dealt with right shoulder inflammation throughout Spring Training, but he returned in time to start Toronto's fourth game of the regular season against the Yankees. Since then, it has been anything but smooth sailing with an 0-5 record and a 7.71 ERA.
The 27-year-old said there were a variety of factors at play in his DL stint, and not all of them appear to be directly related to his shoulder. As his struggles on the mound continued to linger, Stroman conceded they began to affect other facets of his life as well.
"It just got to a point where it became very frustrating, physically and mentally," Stroman said. "Just at a point where I felt like I had to work at 115-120 percent when I would normally be working at 80-85 percent to do what I do out there.
"Just a collective decision between me and the staff, to take a step back, do what I need to do for my shoulder, get my emotions and everything in sync, to get back to myself. I haven't been myself out there at all."
Stroman disputed the notion that he rushed back too quickly from his Spring Training injury. He did not make his spring debut until late in camp, and he made only two official Grapefruit League starts, in addition to an exhibition game against the Canadian Junior National Team.
Despite the small body of work, the Blue Jays allowed him to avoid a DL assignment. Stroman claimed it was a different situation in the spring because he had more time to work on his shoulder between outings, whereas during the season he also has to spend time worrying about opposing lineups and getting ready for each start.
Stroman is known for being a workhorse, having surpassed 200 innings each of the past two seasons. That task will be almost impossible to repeat this year, and there remains no timetable for Stroman's return. It's possible this situation will be sorted out in 10 days, but nobody inside the Blue Jays organization was prepared to make that kind of determination on Friday. What's clear is the last seven weeks have taken a toll on the right-hander, who ranked fourth in the American League last year with a 3.09 ERA.
"I put a lot of pride in my work ethic and how I go about getting ready, because I truly do everything in my power to be my best out there," Stroman said. "So when they don't match up, yeah, it's extremely frustrating. I've been dealing with that, on top of dealing with everything I can to get my shoulder where it needs to be, and it's just at the point where I think to get to where I need to be, I just need to take a step back for a second, fix this problem and keep moving forward from there."
The Blue Jays recalled right-handers Joe Biagini and Sam Gaviglio from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday while placing Stroman on the DL and optioning Tim Mayza. Biagini is expected to start Sunday's series finale against the Red Sox, while Gaviglio will provide some much needed length to a bullpen that has been extremely overworked in recent weeks because of a struggling rotation that entered play on Friday with a 5.53 ERA, which ranked 28th in the Majors.
"That would be ideal, but I'd say there's certainly strong potential it's longer than that," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said when asked if Stroman would return after 10 days.
"We'll see. I think from the rest, the recovery, Marcus has talked about how that has weighed on him mentally. That will be a part of it, that recovery and getting back into the right mindset, the right state of mind and then the right physical state. It could be days before he starts to get on the mound again. We're confident that it will be [days], but really it has to be a day at a time."