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Stroman 'ready to rock' after final tuneup

Special to MLB.com

MONTREAL -- Marcus Stroman's Spring Training was delayed due to right shoulder inflammation. But after making his debut last week and having a final tuneup on Monday night in Montreal, he was ready to bring on the regular season.

"I'm ready to rock. I can't wait," Stroman said.

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MONTREAL -- Marcus Stroman's Spring Training was delayed due to right shoulder inflammation. But after making his debut last week and having a final tuneup on Monday night in Montreal, he was ready to bring on the regular season.

"I'm ready to rock. I can't wait," Stroman said.

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Stroman pitched 4 2/3 innings in the Blue Jays' 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Olympic Stadium, striking out six while allowing three hits and two earned runs.

Given that he was limited to just two spring starts and just over six innings, questions about his readiness for Toronto's season-opening series against the Yankees were inevitable.

"I didn't have to prove myself. I just wanted to make sure my body feels good," Stroman said. "I'm getting better every day. I feel strong. I feel I should be in mid-season form within the next couple of starts."

Manager John Gibbons liked what he saw and confirmed that the 26-year-old would make his scheduled season debut on Sunday against the Yankees.

"Good. Really good," Gibbons said. "Better than I thought. Lots of groundball outs, some strikeouts. He was doing what he does."

Montreal a special place for Blue Jays
The Blue Jays' trips to Montreal, now in its fifth year, have become a memorable part of the team's spring schedule.

"I think we truly have the best fans in the world, and it's apparent when we get outside the city of Toronto," said Stroman. "Across the country and in Montreal, the passion, the fire is the same.

"It's extremely special to play here in front of these fans. They're electric every year."

It was yet another year of roars for Russell Martin, who hails from the city. At one point, part of the crowd of 25,335 broke out in a "Let's go, Russell!" chant.

Video: STL@TOR: Montreal crowd gives Martin standing ovation

Martin, though, had his mind on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. -- the son of an Expos legend -- who also can call Montreal home.

"I was just wondering how it felt for the kid," said Martin. "He kind of grew up in the city a bit watching his dad play, and then coming back, wearing the number his dad wore, I'm sure it was a special moment for him.

"It looked like the fans really appreciate it. They loved his dad here. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree. I think we're going to have a good one here."

Video: STL@TOR: Guerrero Jr. receives ovations in Montreal

Fans also showed their appreciation for other young players with familiar names. Gibbons gave late-game opportunities to both Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, and the fans made their voices heard.

"It's fun for me and the rest of the organization," Gibbons said. "You look around -- Bo's dad played, and we have another Hall of Famer['s son] at second base, Biggio. So it's always pretty neat. And they're all on the right path to make the big leagues and make their own legacy.

"I enjoyed that. I thought it was first class from the fans to do that."

Heather Engel is a contributor to MLB.com.

Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman