DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marcus Stroman's status for the start of the regular season is up in the air after he was diagnosed with inflammation in his right shoulder.
The Blue Jays starter admitted Tuesday morning that he has been feeling discomfort in the area since January. He experienced tightness during his first couple of bullpen sessions this spring, and he has been temporarily shut down.
Stroman was the favorite to be named Toronto's Opening Day starter. He finished fourth in the American League last season with a 3.09 ERA and led all Blue Jays pitchers with 201 innings. An MRI earlier this week discovered the inflammation but ruled out any structural damage.
"It just didn't get to the point where I wanted it to be," Stroman said of his shoulder. "Obviously precautionary in getting the MRI. Everything came back super clean. Just a bit of inflammation in there. Get the inflammation out, revamp my throwing program off it and work back from there.
"I'm totally all for being back for the beginning of the season. I don't know if I'll be back for Opening Day, but I know that I'll be back, hopefully, at the very beginning of the start of the season."
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
The first noticeable sign of trouble for Stroman came during his first bullpen session of the spring. Toronto initially denied there were any issues, but Stroman appeared to have difficulty getting loose and a group of reporters overheard him complaining about tightness.
Stroman took a few days off and then attempted to throw another bullpen session on Sunday. He had more difficulties getting warmed up and appeared visibly frustrated with the way he was throwing. Two days later, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons announced that Stroman's spring debut would be delayed because of the injury.
The expectation is that Stroman will throw again within the next week. A timetable for his return remains unknown, but typically this injury takes at least a couple of weeks to heal. Once cleared, Stroman will then have to gradually be built up since he has yet to pitch in a game.
"It's something that I could probably get through if I needed to get through it," Stroman said. "I know my body really well. I've learned from body extremely well over the last few years, coming back from [a torn ACL]. It's just something I'd rather deal with now and get it out, rather than have something linger throughout the year."
If Stroman is not ready for the start of the year, right-hander Joe Biagini will become the obvious candidate to fill out Toronto's rotation. Biagini was tentatively penciled in as the Blue Jays' No. 5 starter until veteran Jaime Garcia reached a one-year deal with the club during the first week of camp.
One thing Stroman quickly denied was any connection between the inflammation and his tendency to change arm slots in his delivery. Stroman often mixes tempo and recently started experimenting with dropping down and throwing sidearm.
"Not at all, [not even] slightly," Stroman said. "I've been playing with arm slots my whole career, since I was a little kid, so that has nothing to do with it. I had an MRI, everything structurally is fine. It's super clean, so I was happy with that. It's just a matter of taking it where I need it go to the next few days, get the inflammation out and proceed from there."