Just when the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman appeared to be getting his season on track, the righthander from Medford hit another roadblock over the weekend.
A blister on his throwing hand again became a problem during his start against the Yankees on Friday night, and manager John Gibbons said it probably will land him on the disabled list.
“It’s been tough,” said Stroman, who is 4-8 with a 5.27 ERA but had been pitching better recently. “It’s something I’ve been battling. It’s pretty deep now . . . I’ve never voiced how truly [bad] it was. I’ve kind of just always gotten through it and battled.”
When asked before Saturday’s game if Stroman is headed for the DL, Gibbons said “he probably is” but added that the timetable for his return is unclear: “He needs to let that thing heal. How long that takes, nobody knows.”
“Hopefully I just take a start here to let it heal over and then [get] back out there on the mound,” Stroman said. “I want to continue to go out there and get through this, because that’s who I am. But at this point, I just need to let it heal for a few days and let that skin fully get back to being healthy.”
Stroman left his Aug. 7 start against Boston before the eighth inning because of the blister but made his next start five days later and took the mound on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. He allowed five runs in four innings in the Yankees’ 7-5 win and said the blister affected him in a significant way.
“I couldn’t even throw a curveball or slider,” he said. “It’s hard to keep battling and going out there, knowing that you can only go to one or two weapons in your repertoire.’’
Before Friday’s start, Stroman seemed to be turning around what had been a poor season. He missed time during spring training with right shoulder inflammation, and although he returned for the start of the regular season, he struggled in April and May.
Stroman was 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in his first seven starts before the shoulder issue sidelined him again. He was placed on the disabled list after his start May 8 with “right shoulder fatigue,” but since returning on June 23, he is 4-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 11 starts.
Stroman said those improved results make his new injury especially frustrating.
“I killed myself to be back this year, to get my shoulder right,’’ he said. “It’s finally getting to the point where it feels great, and to have this pop up, it [stinks].”
After missing much of 2015 with a left knee injury, Stroman had been one of the game’s more durable pitchers. He was one of eight to throw at least 200 innings in both 2016 and 2017.
He will not reach that mark this season (he has tossed 100 2⁄3 in 2018) but said he remains confident about his future.
“I usually channel and turn adversity into a positive, so I’ll get through this,” he said. “I’ll come out stronger from it like I always do.”