The Blue Jays’ deadline pickups of David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere, LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe have provided a jolt to an already-strong roster, but there could be one more major addition on the way, as GM Alex Anthopoulos said on TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver today that there’s a possibility that Marcus Stroman could return to the rotation in September (audio link, with Stroman comments beginning near 11:50 mark).
“Right now, he’ll be stretched out to start,” said Anthpoulos. “We’ll see how many innings we can get out of him assuming no setbacks. Minor league season’s over on the seventh of September, and we’ll see how much he’s built up by then, and hopefully no setbacks at all. I know there’s been talk about reliever/starter. If he’s totally healthy, our plan is to bring him back as a starter.”
Clearly, that’s a very quick recovery from a serious injury — Stroman tore his ACL in Spring Training — but Stroman tweeted yesterday that Dr. James Andrews was “stunned” by the progress in his recovery, adding that he’s “shattering” his projected timetable to return. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted earlier today that Stroman told him that he felt “unbelievable” during a mound session today.
Anthopoulos stressed that Stroman’s career comes first, and if there are any setbacks, the team will shut him down for the season. However, given the nature of expanded rosters in September, the team could continue to stretch out Stroman to get to the point where he could make a start and be backed by a larger-than-usual bullpen. “Is he up to four innings at that time? Five innings? Three innings?” Anthopoulos asked rhetorically when explaining that the specific plan is dependent on Stoman’s progress. “If he looks like the Marcus from a year ago, and his stuff’s good, his command is good, everything looks good … If he’s close, if he’s a 70-pitch outing or 80, he could make a start at the big league level.”
Anthopoulos does not specify whether or not Stroman would be an option for the Blue Jays in a theoretical playoff run, though one would imagine that if he’s healthy and looks to be one of the team’s best options, that could be in the cards.
The Blue Jays’ rotation has improved since the beginning of the season due not only to the addition of Price, but also to the brilliant work of Marco Estrada since transitioning from the bullpen and the dramatically improved performances of R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle in the summer months. Adding Stroman to the mix would not only deepen the unit down the stretch, but would introduce an interesting new element to the club’s hypothetical postseason staff.