Marcus Stroman eyeing 'far-fetched' return

By: Bob Elliott

It might be a rush.

And it might be a big-time risk.

Marcus Stroman, who has not thrown a pitch this season, is set to climb onto a mound.

After tearing his left ACL on a back field during pitcher’s fielding practice in Dunedin, Stroman’s season was thought to be over.

Scheduled for a light throwing session next Wednesday at Duke University where he is attending classes, he is  tentatively set to begin a rehab assignment Aug. 21.

“In a fantasy world, if he pulled it off, he’d work out of the bullpen,” John Gibbons told reporters before Wednesday’s game. 

While Stroman’s return is “far-fetched” Gibbons said clearance from the doctors would be needed.

“You have to think about his future, but when you’re young like that and have good genes, you heal faster,” said Gibbons, who does not play a doctor on TV, but was back managing after one day wearing suspenders for leaving the Jays clubhouse after his ejection to join in -- as a peacemaker -- during Sunday’s bench clearing brawl against the Kansas City Royals.  

Say Stroman, who maintained all along he’d be back this season, hits the bullpen in his first minor-league rehab on Aug. 21 at Dunedin ... the Jays say he would then need the full six weeks of spring training all their pitchers require, which brings us to Oct. 2, the final Friday of the season. 

Since all minor league regular seasons end Sept. 7, he could only pitch in instructional games at the Bobby Mattick complex in Dunedin unless management is able to find playoff innings for him. 

“It’s been a while, gonna take some time,” Gibbons said. “We don’t look at it as if he’s gonna come to the rescue and save the day. It’s his goal to get back here. We’re on board, but we’re not gonna do anything stupid either.”

From Stroman’s standpoint it is important for him to return to carry good thoughts through his winter workouts and into next spring.

Just as Roy Halladay who was shut down July 16, 2004 due to a “dead shoulder” and thought it was important to return before the end of the season, it is for Stroman.

Halladay returned to make three late starts, pitching four innings against the New York Yankees (59 pitches), three innings against the Baltimore Orioles (70) and in his finale eight strong innings against the Yankees (86).