Marcus Stroman's return home to New York during the Blue Jays' opening series at Yankee Stadium has been delayed until 2016 after he suffered an ACL tear of his left knee Tuesday that will cost him the entire season.
"Beyond devastated," Stroman said on his certified Twitter account. "Not being able to compete with my brothers each and every day is extremely disappointing. Still can't believe it."
Stroman's father, Earl, told Newsday that his son was injured during pitcher's fielding practice, when Stroman was backpedaling on a bunt drill. The two plan to fly to Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday to see Dr. James Andrews and the expectation is Stroman will have the knee repaired as soon as the considerable swelling goes down.
"He's never had any kind of surgery in his life," Earl Stroman said. "He takes care of his body, works extremely hard to stay in great shape and is just so devastated. To say he was upset is an understatement.
"This is a whole new challenge for him. My concern is that he'll want to come back too soon."
Stroman, the former Patchogue-Medford star, already couldn't wait to build on his outstanding rookie season, when he went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 20 starts and six relief appearances for Toronto. The Blue Jays, considered by many a favorite to win the AL East, planned to use Stroman as their No. 1 starter. He had not allowed an earned run in 41/3 innings in spring training before Tuesday's freakish injury.
Despite less than a full season in the majors, Stroman, 23, already has made an impression with both his talent and infectious enthusiasm.
"Sad to see my brother go down like that," Jays teammate Jose Reyes said on his certified Twitter account. "Praying for your speedy recovery."
The Rays' Chris Archer, another talented young pitcher in the division, also expressed his well wishes on Twitter: "Obstacles and adversity make you stronger. A stronger [Stroman] is a scary thought. Wishing you a speedy recovery, my friend."
Stroman joins the Rangers' Yu Darvish and the Phillies' Cliff Lee among the ranks of injured pitching stars in spring training. Darvish is likely to miss the season because of Tommy John surgery and Lee will try to pitch through a flexor tendon issue instead of having season-ending surgery, but Stroman's injury is the most damaging blow to a contending team. Now he'll have to watch as the Blue Jays try to end a 22-year playoff drought.
"He's going to have to be strong mentally," Earl Stroman said. "He's never been off the field. He's never been a spectator. He's been fortunate, he's never had a significant injury in his life. This will only make him stronger."