TORONTO — Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman’s emotions are always close to the surface. On Thursday they bubbled over.
The right-hander was ejected along with manager John Gibbons and catcher Russell Martin in a beef triggered by umpire Will Little’s calls behind the plate during the fifth inning of Toronto’s 8-4 win over Oakand.
Gibbons was tossed first for comments from the dugout. Stroman and Martin quickly followed after Stroman was assessed a career-high sixth walk. Stroman charged off the mound towards Little but was held back by bench coach DeMarlo Hale.
Stroman threw 90 pitches, of which 52 were strikes.
The right-hander declined comment on the umpires afterwards. But he made it clear that he’s not going to change his heart-on-the-sleeve, pump-it-up playing style.
"I’m an emotional guy. I’m going to continue to be myself regardless of who doesn’t like it, who likes it," he told reporters. "I’m always going to be myself regardless here on out.
"I’m emotional. That’s how I pitch. That’s what I pride myself on. That what allows me to be my best out there and that’s how it’s going to continue to be day-in and day-out. So if you don’t like it, it’s OK."
Stroman, 26, has been the best of the Toronto starters this season. He has gone seven-plus innings eight times while the other starters have combined for nine such outings.
He says what you see is what you get these days when it comes to who he is.
"I’m confident, more comfortable for sure. I’m being myself. When you come up (to the majors), it sometimes hard to be yourself being a young guy. Now I feel like I’m settled in, I can completely be myself. There’s no reason to hang back.
"None of it is ill-natured by any means. It’s things that I need to do, talk to myself to get myself in the moment, to get myself up for a particular pitch. And it’s not going to change going forward … and nobody can sway that."
Stroman says he believes the young talent in baseball has brought more emotion to the game.
"You’re starting to see guys do special things around the league," he said. "I’m all for emotion, man. I could care less if someone pimps a homer off me. I gave it up at the end of the day.
"I feel like showing emotion and passion is part of the game and by doing so you’re able to play at your most elite level."