“Playoffs, out of the pen … you never know” – Marcus Stroman, March 2015
Five months ago, both of those propositions appeared to be highly improbable. But as the weeks and days pass, at least one of those possibilities may come to fruition in the near future.
Back in March, Marcus Stroman addressed the media after tearing his ACL and floated the idea of coming back at the end of the season to pitch out of the bullpen (potentially even in the playoffs).
As of as yesterday, those plans for Stroman’s return may have slightly changed … in a good way.
Alex Anthopoulos spoke with TSN 1040 in Vancouver and shocked just about everyone by revealing that if Stroman were to return this season, it would be as a starter and not a reliever.
“Right now, he’ll be stretched out to start. We’ll see how many innings we can get out of him assuming no setbacks. If he’s totally healthy, our plan is to bring him back as a starter.”
Didn’t that escalate rather quickly? Prior to this interview with Anthopoulos, every indication pointed towards Stroman being used solely out of the bullpen upon his possible late-season return.
Although, given the reports of his remarkable progress, I guess we really shouldn’t be all that surprised.
Earlier this week, Dr. James Andrews marveled at Stroman’s recovery. John Gibbons also watched footage of Marcus Stroman throwing off a mound and said “you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with the kid.”
Obviously, the Blue Jays don’t want to risk Stroman’s recovery process by rushing his return. But if everything checks out and he’s able to be stretched out in time, why not bring Stroman back into the mix as a part of the starting rotation?
After moving Aaron Sanchez back into the bullpen and picking up LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe, I think the Blue Jays finally have their bullpen set up the way they want it. And while any contributions from Stroman would be more than welcome, I really don’t think the Blue Jays would have room to fit in Marcus as a reliever.
When the rosters expand on September 1st, the floodgates will open and the Blue Jays will suddenly have more players than they know what to do with. Which means trying to shoehorn in some innings for Marcus Stroman in September may prove to be quite difficult.
That fifth starter’s spot is the one spot on the roster which could be in flux these final eight weeks of the season. Drew Hutchison hasn’t proven he can be relied upon just yet (either at home or on the road), and his spot is the one potential spot where Marcus Stroman’s presence could provide a remarkable improvement.
At this point, any contributions the Blue Jays might receive from Marcus Stroman in 2015 would be like found money. Considering how far Stroman has come, it really would be remarkable for him to even throw one pitch in a Major League game this season.
At no point have the Blue Jays revealed a definite timetable for his return; but as the
days get closer and closer to his rehab appearances, we’re finally
beginning to see a clearer picture of what the club is
planning to do with Marcus Stroman.
The Blue Jays’ front office staff has been very careful to temper any expectations regarding Marcus Stroman. But when you factor in Alex Anthopoulos’ recent remarks and the glowing progress report from Dr. Andrews, Stroman may be ready for action much sooner than most expected.
Although Stroman initially indicated he’d love to pitch out of the bullpen earlier in the year, he may actually get a chance to start. The second part of his wish (playoffs) has yet to come true, but the Blue Jays are well on their way to making it a reality.
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