Blue Jays ace Mar­cus Stro­man elec­tri­fied the city in last sea­son’s play­off run. Find out what he 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

Richmond Hill Post - - Table of Contents - by Ron John­son

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 All­Star 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.

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