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Marcus Stroman excited about making 2015 debut against Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman looks on

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman looks on against the Yankees in an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Friday, July 25, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Marcus Stroman is now all-Long Island and beyond. That includes his adopted country of Canada, where the Blue Jays already have held a bobblehead day for the second- year player.

Stroman is back in the starting rotation for the first-place Blue Jays, and the former Patchogue-Medford High School star was in such demand Thursday that the Blue Jays staged a news conference with a throng of reporters before the game against the Yankees was rained out.

It was rescheduled for Saturday as part of a single-admission doubleheader. Stroman will start the second game in his first appearance of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee while fielding a bunt in spring training.

Stroman, 24, who beat the Yankees twice last year in his rookie season, is stoked. "It's going to be hard to contain, absolutely. You're going to have those emotions,'' he said. "It's New York, it's a pennant race, it's where I'm from, it's my state . . . I got to see a bunch of people from back home, Long Island. That's fun. This is New York. It's Yankee Stadium.

"I mean, that's why you play the game,'' he added. "You want to be in the biggest moments. You want to be out there when the crowds are the biggest, and I feel like I thrive off that, so I can't wait to be part of this and I'm thankful that the Blue Jays have a great deal of confidence in me -- as they should. I'm ready to go out there and dominate . . . I expect to go out there and put my team in a position to win. I'm ready to go out there and go seven, eight, however many innings. Nine innings. My arm feels great.''

The 5-8, 180-pound righthander surprised the Blue Jays with his rapid return from surgery that usually requires up to a year before a player can return. "I don't think anybody expected [it] except himself,'' manager John Gibbons said. "He came quick, good rehab. Young guys heal quick, I guess. We'll see what he does.''

Stroman said he was "pretty positive'' about returning this season. "I know what I was thinking in my head that I'm going to be back 100 percent. I don't know what the realistic opinion was, but I thought to myself once I went down, I kind of started looking at ACL timelines and hearing about athletes who did it in this amount of time span and I knew my work ethic and I knew how positive I would stay. I said, why not come back this year?''

Stroman will wear a brace on his knee but says he feels fine. "There's no more knee questions. My knee's good,'' he said. "There's nothing hindering me at all. I'm ready to just go out there and compete.''

In addition to rehabbing his knee, Stroman returned to Duke and completed the requirements for an undergraduate degree in sociology. "I was a regular student there. Nobody honestly knew who I was, I promise you,'' he said. "No autographs.''

But he wasn't totally anonymous.

Said Stroman: "I gave my teachers some bobbleheads.''

New York Sports