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Stroman restarting throwing program

Blue Jays righty to play catch before progressing to bullpen sessions
MLB.com @gregorMLB

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marcus Stroman played catch on Thursday for the first time since he was diagnosed with inflammation in his right shoulder.

Stroman had been shut down for the last 10 days because of soreness in his shoulder. An MRI ruled out structural damage, but he remains doubtful for the start of the season because time is running out to build up enough endurance before Opening Day.

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marcus Stroman played catch on Thursday for the first time since he was diagnosed with inflammation in his right shoulder.

Stroman had been shut down for the last 10 days because of soreness in his shoulder. An MRI ruled out structural damage, but he remains doubtful for the start of the season because time is running out to build up enough endurance before Opening Day.

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The Blue Jays do not have a definitive plan for Stroman beyond his initial light throwing session, but he will eventually transition to throwing a bullpen session off the mound. From there he likely would throw a live batting-practice session and be eased into games.

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"He's feeling good," pitching coach Pete Walker said Wednesday. "He's champing at the bit to get going. Shut him down for a little bit, but he's ready to go. Get out there, play catch tomorrow, and we'll go from there."

If Stroman is not ready by the first week of the season, the Blue Jays will turn to right-hander Joe Biagini as a temporary solution. Biagini continues to get stretched out this spring and is a candidate to be sent to Triple-A Buffalo once Stroman is cleared to pitch.

Prospects such as Thomas Pannone, who allowed three runs on three hits in Wednesday's split-squad game vs. Detroit, and Ryan Borucki will open the year in the Minors.

Blue Jays Spring Training info

"You don't want to rush them," Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale said. "Spring Training, you're evaluating them, but there is a difference in the season. I don't think I could answer that very strongly by saying that they're ready. ... We'll see how Spring Training keeps progressing and see where we're at injury-wise."

Injury update
Rookie reliever Carlos Ramirez is at least a couple of more days away from throwing off a mound because of a similar injury to the one that Stroman has. Ramirez was temporarily shut down after he experienced some discomfort in his right shoulder following an outing vs. the Yankees on Feb. 27.

"He played catch again, feeling good," Walker said. "He is very anxious to get things progressing, and moving forward. He's on a bit of a slower schedule right now. We're just making sure he feels good, continues to feel good. I'm sure he'll throw off a mound in the next couple of days, too."

Visa issues
Veteran right-hander Seung Hwan Oh has yet to make his Blue Jays debut this spring because he is still dealing with visa issues. Oh is in Dunedin and participating in Spring Training but cannot make an official appearance in a game until his documentation is taken care of.

"He has thrown live BPs, he has thrown sides," Walker said. "As soon as he's ready to go, he'll be in a game. I'm still hopeful this weekend, but we'll see. If not, early next week."

Steady outing for Happ
Lefty J.A. Happ had another solid outing during Wednesday's victory over the Pirates. Happ allowed one run on two hits and a pair of walks over three-plus innings. The lone run charged to Happ came around to score when reliever Danny Barnes surrendered a two-run homer in the top of the fourth after Happ walked the leadoff hitter. Happ struck out one and threw 34 of his 57 pitches for strikes.

"I think third inning, especially today, I said to Luke [Maile], 'Let's try to get that backdoor cutter going,'" Happ said. "It has been good. Today was a little inconsistent with it, but I did throw some good changeups and a few curveballs in there today. That's the benefit of throwing 57 pitches. The more pitches you throw, the more you are able to work on those things more and you have more opportunities in an at-bat to do that."

Video: PIT@TOR: Happ holds Pirates to one run over three

Worth noting
• Second baseman Devon Travis had a big day at the plate on Wednesday by going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Travis' home run came in the bottom of the second inning off Tyler Glasnow, as the ball cleared the fence in deep right-center field. The 27-year-old has five hits in 15 at-bats this spring, and all signs point to him being ready for the start of the season following last year's knee surgery.

Video: PIT@TOR: Travis belts a two-run homer in the 2nd

• Catcher Russell Martin has been showing some early signs of power this spring as well. Martin homered yet again on Wednesday afternoon. Martin has three hits in 14 at-bats this spring and each one of them cleared the outfield wall. The veteran catcher got the start at third base for the game against the Pirates, but it was mostly to get his bat into the lineup. Martin made 10 appearances at third last season, but with more infield depth this year, he shouldn't be needed there as much.

Video: PIT@TOR: Martin starts at third base, homers in 4th

Up next
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez will make his third appearance of the spring when the Blue Jays travel to Sarasota, Fla., to visit the Orioles on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman