Yankees starting pitcher Marcus Stroman throws in the first inning...

Yankees starting pitcher Marcus Stroman throws in the first inning of a spring training game against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday. Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert

SARASOTA, Fla. — Marcus Stroman looked a bit more like Marcus Stroman in his second start of spring training than in his first.

But the former Patchogue-Medford High School star isn’t quite where he wants to be, and knows he will be, when the games count.

“Just not right where I need to be, where I want to be mechanically and physically with my body moving down the rubber,” Stroman said. “I’m very close, but definitely good to see good results always.”

The righthander, who allowed three runs (two earned), four hits and a walk last Sunday against the Phillies in his exhibition debut, was sharper Saturday against the Orioles in a 7-3 loss at Ed Smith Stadium.

Stroman allowed two hits and struck out three in four scoreless innings, effectively implementing a mechanical tweak he made during the week. The sinkerball specialist recorded only one ground-ball out against the Phillies but   got three outs on the ground Saturday.

“Huge strides,” Stroman said, comparing last Sunday’s outing to Saturday’s. “I changed my hand placement. I’m not starting my hands low anymore, I’m starting my hands a little higher. Any time you make adjustments like that, they seem small, but they’re pretty drastic because it’s all connected to timing and fluidity. So just trying to get reps. Just trying to become more consistent with my [pitch] shapes and my body. I think I’m getting there. I’m not where I need to be, but that’s why we have another two, three weeks to go.”

The tweak with his hands, Stroman said, was done on his own. He said he is “always working on things,” and after last Sunday’s outing against the Phillies, he went back to video from some of his past years.

“Just makes me more efficient,” said Stroman, who has a 3.65 ERA in nine MLB seasons. “I’m already having way better results. It’s just allowing me to be repetitive way more consistently. When my hands are low, my hand pump is becoming too inconsistent with the height of it each and every pitch. Putting my hands at my chest, staying very compact and tight for me is my biggest thing, so it’s allowing me to stay very compact rather than outside my body.”

That type of mechanical alteration might seem small, as he said, and indeed it was.  Aaron Boone said after the game that he hadn’t noticed.

“I didn’t know about that,” he said with a laugh. “He’s always tweaking something. I thought he was sharp, so whatever he did, I guess keep doing that.”

Stroman signed a two-year, $37 million deal in January, a pivot move after Yoshinobu Yamamoto spurned the Yankees' $300 million offer to take a $325 million deal from the Dodgers.

Stroman, who has pitched for the Blue Jays, Mets and Cubs, arrived with some past baggage, much of it involving various beefs on social media that he’s engaged in over the years, whether with some members of the media or random fans.

But his competitiveness has never been questioned, nor has his desire to perform in the spotlight. Boone said Stroman’s transition into the clubhouse has been a “seamless” one.

“One of the biggest things is, since the day I met with him, before we signed him, until now, I feel like he’s in a place he wants to be,” Boone said. “I think he’s assimilated into our clubhouse very seamlessly. I think he’s comfortable, I think he’s happy. I think he’s excited to compete on the biggest stage in baseball and, on top of it, he’s been a really good, consistent pitcher throughout his career, going on a decade now. I’m really excited he’s on our team.”

Said Stroman: “Outsiders don’t understand . . . [People] think, ‘Stroman’s this loud, outspoken guy,' but [Aaron] Judge has known me for a while. Everyone here’s extremely cool. We’ve got a great veteran presence, we’ve got great young guys, we have great personality. Everyone’s very different and everyone’s allowed to be themselves. Usually, the best teams are when you’ve got guys who are authentically themselves personality-wise . . . guys that love to compete and win. I’m excited. I’m excited for this roster and to go out there and play 162 with this team.”

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