Toronto Blue Jays: Never count out Marcus Stroman

BOSTON, MA - JULY 17: Marcus Stroman
BOSTON, MA - JULY 17: Marcus Stroman /

Marcus Stroman still has a chance to be ready for the Toronto Blue Jays’ first series of the new season, against the New York Yankees.

We recently reported on Marcus Stroman‘s issues with his right shoulder. Even though there was no structural damage, question marks surrounded his ability to be ready for the start of the season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

However, one thing we’ve learnt is to never count out Stroman, no matter how dire a situation may appear. Look no further than an incident back in 2015, for proof of this.

The 26-year-old suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during spring training, and was expected to be out for the entire year. However, he returned in September of the same year and went on to start three games during the Blue Jays’ first postseason appearance since 1993.

With this in mind, Stroman is still aiming to be ready for the start of the 2018 campaign. General manager Ross Atkins discussed the right-hander with the Toronto Sun‘s Rob Longley and other members of the media:

"“I think it’s not out of the realm that it could be the first or the 10th start (of the season),” Atkins said on Friday. “We’ll know much over the next 10 days.“He’s thrown twice and we’re going to start long toss to get extended. He feels great and with this kind of thing, you would know right away if something was wrong.” More from Toronto Blue JaysBlue Jays avoid disaster as Kevin Gausman injury not seriousBlue Jays interested in outfielder Andrew BenintendiBlue Jays hope fresh start for Sergio Romo boosts bullpenBlue Jays need to have a break from Yusei KikuchiBlue Jays: Nate Pearson suffers yet another setback"

As for Stroman himself, he felt good after playing long toss on flat ground on Saturday for the first time since he was shut down. As noted by Sportsnet‘s Arden Zwelling, the next step involves throwing off a mound in a bullpen session sometime this week.

If this goes to plan, the 2017 Gold Glove winner should be able to finally pitch in his first game of spring training. However, it should be noted the odds remain against him starting on opening day, against the New York Yankees.

In this respect, the Blue Jays will make sure they take a cautious approach with Stroman and not rush him back. As manager John Gibbons said to Zwelling and other members of the media:

"“We’ve got to be smart. We need him for six months. He’s such an integral part of our team. We’ll see how it all plays out.”"

The Blue Jays’ starting rotation is arguably the key to their chances of making a genuine challenge for the postseason. As such, even if Stroman is unable to pitch in the opening series against the Yankees, this should be perceived as a positive sign the team is playing it smart and thinking long-term for 2018.

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Regardless of whether Stroman is ready for the start of the season or not, what kind of year are you predicting for him in the Toronto Blue Jays’ rotation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.