Marcus Stroman will make his return to the Blue Jays’ rotation on Saturday, manager John Gibbons revealed today in an MLB Network appearance (h/t: FOX’s Jon Morosi, on Twitter). He’ll step into the rotation in place of Mark Buehrle, whom Gibbons described as “a little banged up.” Buehrle has returned to Toronto, where he’ll receive a cortisone injection in his left shoulder, tweets Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.
Stroman’s return would’ve seemed impossible a few months ago, as the promising young right-hander tore his ACL just prior to the season. However, Stroman has healed far, far more quickly than anticipated and has already made a pair of minor league rehab starts. If healthy, he can provide a major boost to the Toronto rotation as the Blue Jays attempt to maintain their slim half-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East. Stroman will have the opportunity to immediately make a direct impact on that race, as he’ll take the mound at Yankee Stadium.
Stroman allowed four runs on eight hits and five walks with 12 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings in his pair of rehab outings. The former No. 22 overall pick emerged as a potential rotation cornerstone for the Blue Jays in 2014 when he pitched 130 2/3 innings of 3.65 ERA ball, averaging 7.6 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings. ERA estimators such as FIP (2.84), xFIP (3.17) and SIERA (3.18) all believed Stroman’s true talent level to exceed his ERA in 2014.