DUNEDIN, Fla. – Marcus Stroman emerged from a Monday morning throwing session feeling much improved, but with little more than two weeks remaining before the season begins, the Toronto Blue Jays are opting for caution as he recovers from right shoulder inflammation.
Stroman won’t pitch opening day against the New York Yankees. Instead, he’ll work his way back at a more deliberate pace with an early-season debut still expected.
“My best judgment says it makes no sense at this time, because we want him healthy the whole year,” manager John Gibbons said. “He doesn’t like that. I get that. But I think it’s best for him and best for the team.”
Gibbons said Stroman could still pitch in the opening four-game series against the Yankees. Either way, the club wants to exercise caution with the 26-year-old, who has been battling shoulder inflammation for two weeks.
“We’re just trying to buy him enough time,” Gibbons said. “The shoulder, really, is no big deal, but my experience in this game says sometimes it’s better to be smart than stupid.”
The Blue Jays aren’t ready to announce an opening day starter, but they have plenty of choice with J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez and Jaime Garcia also slated to begin the season in the rotation.
“We’ll see,” Gibbons said. “We could go with any of them.”