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Stroman to finish Duke degree while rehabbing knee

Pitcher to keep busy, mixing classes with workouts

ST. PETERSBURG -- As the Blue Jays open their first three-city road trip of the season, their prized right-hander, Marcus Stroman, is getting ready to go back to school.

Stroman, who is out for the season following surgery to repair a torn ACL, will return to Duke University on May 4 to continue his rehab and put the finishing touches on his undergraduate degree.

The 23-year-old will take three classes this spring, two more later in the summer and plans to graduate with a major in Sociology and a minor in Markets and Management studies in December. He'll have a busy schedule with a mixture of classes and rehab programs on his long road to recovery.

"My parents pushed me from a very early age to make sure that it was all academics first," Stroman said. "I was a kid who wasn't allowed out if I wasn't going to work, or I was the kid studying when everyone else was partying. That's something I always try to preach to everyone I'm around, even high school students now, I always try to gear them towards college.

"I tell them that to kind of get them going on that degree path, at least where they're getting close. If they want to play professional baseball they can still go back and get their degree. It means a lot, because you never know what can happen."

Video: Blue Jays lament over Stroman missing 2015 season

Stroman made the decision to return to Duke shortly after he suffered the season-ending injury while taking part in pitchers' fielding practice this spring. It will serve as a distraction to a grueling -- and often mundane -- rehab schedule and also fulfills a promise made to his family after declaring for the MLB Draft as a junior in college.

The native of Medford, N.Y., has been rehabbing at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. for the past several weeks. He arrives at the facility every morning at 9 a.m. and goes through a variety of treatments and strengthening exercises until the middle of the afternoon.

That work will continue at Duke under the watchful eye of Dr. Robert Butler. Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Stroman will rehab from 10-12 in the morning, attend class from 12:30-2:30 p.m., more rehab from 3-4 and then class from 5-7. Mondays and Wednesdays will be limited to just rehab work on the knee.

To date, everything has gone about as well as could be expected.

"I'm doing really well, I'd say I'm a little ahead of protocol, they call it," Stroman said. "It's more just time. I'm going to feel good in the next couple of months when I start attacking and my knee is going to start feeling like it can play but it's more time letting the actual graft heal."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
Read More: Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman