Could Marcus Stroman return for the Blue Jays in September?

Courtesy of Toronto Star

Courtesy of Toronto Star

TORONTO- The Toronto Blue Jays, who are streaking right now, could get a major boost in their rotation next month. Earlier this week, the team announced that right-hander Marcus Stroman has been cleared to begin throwing.

The 24-year old tore his ACL in his left knee after taking part in some intense bunting drills during spring training. Many believed that Stroman would miss the entire season recovering from this devastating injury. Tenaciously, Stroman vowed to return in September and decided to finish his degree at Duke University. Earlier this week, Stroman stunned Dr. Andrews with his recovery and began throwing off the mound last Tuesday.

Stroman’s return is an encouraging sign for both Stroman and the Blue Jays, but should they rush him back this quickly?

The average recovery time of ACL injuries for professional athletes approximates 8 months to a year. We’re talking about Stroman coming back after 6 months, which is an unusually quick recovery period. While many professional athletes recover well from this common injury, it is uncertain if they can maintain the same production. For instance, Texas Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo was the only MLB pitcher to recover from ACL surgery after 6 months during the 2008 season.

Although there is no timetable for Stroman’s return, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was impressed after watching a video of Stroman’s throwing session and said that his young pitcher could begin his rehab assignment later this month.

While Blue Jays stated that Stroman’s long-term health remains the top priority, they’re going stretch him out as a starter. The team is hoping that Stroman can throw 70 to 80 pitches without a setback. With the rosters expanding in September, Stroman’s potential return creates a lot of options. He could be a starter or reliever.

Last season, Stroman was a significant arm of the rotation after going 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 26 appearances (20 starts). He was considered to be a front-of-the-rotation type of starter before he went down with the injury. The Blue Jays’ rotation currently features David Price, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison. After that, they don’t have the depth in the minor league system to rely on if any injuries were to occur.

Stroman could provide that boost in the Blue Jays pitching staff, but there are risks involved. It’s a tough call for the Blue Jays to handle. But knowing Stroman’s determination, he is pretty optimistic about making an impact for his team trying to end their 22-year playoff drought.

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