What T.O.’s ace has up his sleeve this season
Marcus Stroman is the leader of the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation & with spring training underway, we caught up with the energetic, well-coiffed hurler
Marcus Stroman hasn’t pitched a complete season in the Major Leagues. He is fresh off a major knee injury that sidelined the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher for most of last season. But man, he can flat out pitch, which is part of the reason why he and his fellow teammates electrified the city last season with their playoff run that ended in a Game 6 loss to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series — two games shy of an appearance in the World Series. Now, Stroman is the ace of a club that remains much intact and looks to make another World Series title run. Post City spoke with the fiery young hurler as spring training was just getting underway in Florida.
Did it piss you off that David Price left?
Yeah, I mean, not pissed off, more thankful of the time I had with him. I’m just glad I was able to make it back and spend that September and October with him. I can’t explain just how much I learned. It was unbelievable. And, he still rocks my hats in Boston interviews. He’s a true role model, true inspiration not only to me but to everyone who comes in contact with him.
What does it mean to be the team’s ace?
I’m excited. Obviously you play the game to be the ace not the 4 or 5. I’ve wanted to be that guy for a long time. That’s why I work as hard as I do.
Your season ended on a sour note, but not before that electric playoff run that transformed this city. Do those memories help fuel the fire going into this season?
I use it as momentum, you know what I mean? More so how the playoffs ignited the city and using that momentum from last year to build and go further this year. We know what we are capable of, even though we lost. Everyone is excited to get back and get going.
Is there an image from the experience that stands out more than anything else?
I mean, the obvious one is the Bautista homer. That was the pinnacle of it all. I’d say that has to be it, for sure.
How are you feeling heading into spring training?
I feel great. I’ve put in a lot of work in the off-season, first with my strength and rehab team at Duke University and now that I’m here with the Blue Jays staff. My body and my knee are where I want them to be, and I’m excited for that first opening day to get a full year under my belt.
You were back in Toronto last month to take in the NBA All-Star Game. How was that?
I mean, the entire weekend was amazing, to be honest with you. I met so may great people, and I was surprised by how many celebrities were reaching out. It was crazy and humbling to see the excitement of the entire city. And I’m a huge basketball fan, so to be able to see Kobe’s last game was truly special.
I see Aaron Sanchez joined you for workouts during the off-season. How did that go?
Sanchez has been with me every step of the way. Everywhere I was, he was — November, December, January, we were doing two-a-days [workouts]. The priority for him has been to add muscle and bulk up to be stronger and more flexible. He was focused and really attacked it. He added 18 to 22 or 23 pounds of muscle, so he should be able to dominate.
Do you have any unique superstitions?
I have a few. I don’t even know if I should say, but one is that I eat M&M’s on game day.
What does the team need to do to win, and win now?
I think we have it all in place. It’s just a matter of going out there, staying committed and focusing on what we’re capable of. This team has a special bond, a special camaraderie with every single person. We know we are capable of going much further than last year.