Stroman feels ready to rejoin rotation
Blue Jays righty finishes Triple-A rehab stint, reportedly gets called up
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Marcus Stroman didn't hesitate one second when asked if he's ready to join the Blue Jays' rotation following Monday's rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo against Pawtucket.
"I'm 100 percent," said Stroman, who according to Sportsnet was called up by Toronto along with Steve Delabar and Matt Hague following Monday's 11-4 loss to the Red Sox. The Blue Jays have not confirmed the report.
"I know some people are going to say he didn't have a good start," Stroman said. "But stuff-wise, arm-wise, knee-wise and health-wise, I'm ready to go. I feel great. It's just a matter of getting up there, getting into the bullpen, fine-tuning and I'll be ready to go."
Stroman blew out his left ACL early in Spring Training and underwent surgery by Dr. James Andrews in March. The initial prognosis was that Stroman would be out for the season. But physicians gave him approval to begin throwing from a mound in August.
What makes Stroman's recovery all the more remarkable is that, since 1990, 11 Major League pitchers have had surgery to repair torn ACLs. But only two right-handers, Paul Maholm and John Parrish, tore their left ACL -- their landing leg, which is the case with Stroman.
Stroman was scheduled to throw 85 pitches, but departed after throwing 81 -- only 46 of which were strikes. In three innings, he allowed eight hits and four runs (all earned) replete with four walks and five strikeouts.
"My arm felt great and my knee felt great," Stroman said. "The results didn't say so. But my stuff felt unreal.
"It's the best my knee has felt. My knee's been making gains over the course of time. I was up in the zone … rushing it a little bit and a little quick. My stuff was a little elevated but that's stuff that can be adjusted in the bullpen."
Stroman made his first rehab start Sept. 2 for Class A Lansing against Great Lakes. He didn't allow a hit over 4 2/3 innings and fanned seven while only walking one. He extricated himself from a first-inning jam during which he allowed three singles but zero runs.
Pawtucket tagged Stroman for two runs on two hits and two walks in the second. The PawSox added two more runs in the third on three hits plus two walks. But, overall, he stranded seven base runners.
Arguably the most impressive play made by Stroman had nothing to do with his pitches.
With PawSox on first and second and one out in the first, he fielded a bouncer off the bat of Chris Marrero and fired a strike to third that forced Marco Hernandez.
"I haven't had many of those," Stroman said. "I want to face adversity now. I don't want adversity to be the first time I face it in the big leagues.
"I had to battle today. I had to battle with guys on. I had to pitch from the stretch. I was able to bounce off the mound and that felt great, turning to third and making that play. That's almost the same play where I tore my ACL going that way."
The memory of that play during which he tore his ACL is ancient history as far as Stroman is concerned.
"I'm completely past it," he said. "My knee is 100 percent. I'm ready to go."
According to published reports, Toronto manager John Gibbons is contemplating giving Mark Buehrle an extra day of rest and starting Stroman on Saturday in New York against the Yankees.
On Monday morning, Gibbons said that decision would be a group effort, involving both pitching coach Pete Walker and general manager Alex Anthopolous.
"We'll have a little bit of arguing," Gibbons said. "You don't know if you get a great read. It's the last game of the [Bisons'] season. Guys go up there swinging. But there will be people there watching it to see how he looks.
"Pete Walker said [Stroman] threw his bullpen the other day. He couldn't believe how good it was. And he's seen it before. A lot of guys are good in the bullpen, but there's something different about him, he said."
Stroman was expected to return to Boston on Monday evening and won't pitch for the next few days regardless of whether he ends up in the rotation or the bullpen. The 24-year-old went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 26 appearances (20 starts) for Toronto last season.
"I don't know what the call is, but I'm ready to start -- 100 percent," Stroman said. "My arm's ready. Obviously I was at 80 pitches today even though it was only three. But I had to face adversity and that was good.
"It was good to battle and have to make pitches rather than have smooth sailing. Everything checks out and I'm ready for the next one."