Blue Jays rookie starting pitcher and former Patchogue-Medford High School star Marcus Stroman on Thursday night refused to back off his assertion that the pitch he threw behind the head of the Orioles' Caleb Joseph on Monday night in Baltimore was unintentional.
Major League Baseball issued a six-game suspension and undisclosed fine to Stroman on Wednesday for "throwing a pitch in the head area.'' Stroman is appealing and said he had not yet been informed of a hearing date.
"Just to reiterate, obviously I would never throw at someone's head,'' he said at Yankee Stadium, where Toronto opened a four-game series. "It's not me . . . Outsiders looking in, I understand how it can receive some backlash. If you know me as a person, if you know my character, I'm not that type of individual.''
Stroman said he understands the current climate in baseball. "Obviously, you have things happening, [Giancarlo] Stanton, [Chase] Headley, which are pretty tragic at the time, so it definitely could have been bad timing,'' he said. "It is what it is. It's tough. It's tough to hear that people would actually think I would intentionally throw at him. 'Cause I know that's not who I am as an individual.''
Stroman's pitch to Joseph came in the sixth, an inning after the Blue Jays' Jose Reyes became angry when Joseph appeared to step on his hand on a play at the plate. Asked if he was protecting Reyes, Stroman, 23, said, "That doesn't feed into it. That's kind of baseball in general. Obviously, you have to be able to stick up for your teammates. They are your brothers that you go to war with each and every time out, and if the circumstance calls for it, it is what it is, but that had nothing to do with it.''
Stroman's father, Earl, was at the game in Baltimore. "I actually told him he should call the guy, text him, say 'Sorry, didn't mean to go to your head,' '' he said.
Informed of what his father said, Stroman responded, "I'm going to handle it how I think I should handle it.''
Will Stroman drop his appeal if he gets to start against the Yankees on Saturday, as scheduled? "I'm not sure,'' he said. "I'm going to talk to my agent, I'm going to talk with the team, people in my corner, and we'll kind of figure it out then.''
Stroman lost to Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees, 3-1, at Yankee Stadium on June 17. "Last time I was here, it was just a big ordeal,'' he said. "This time I kind of limited [tickets] down to my direct family and friends."