Blue Jays Starter Marcus Stroman Rehabs at McCoy Stadium

As the Red Sox focus on letting their young players get playing time down the stretch, the American League East leading Blue Jays are looking forward to getting back one of their key players for the stretch run. Starting Pitcher Marcus Stroman made a rehab appearance with the Buffalo Bisons on Monday at McCoy Stadium and said he is ready to return.

Stroman, 24, who is at the end of a crazy recovery after tearing his knee in Spring Marcus StromanTraining just fielding his position, seems to be done talking about his knee and ready to start for the Blue Jays. Stroman won 11 games for the Blue Jays last season in 20 starts and could take the rotation spot of Drew Hutchison, who has double digit wins but a very high ERA. Hutchison has already been demoted this season and would likely move to the bullpen if the Blue Jays decide Stroman is ready to return to the rotation.

If Stroman were to return to the rotation on regular rest, his first start of the season would come this Saturday against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

In 3 innings of work Stroman had a line of 8 H, 4 ER, 4 BB and 5 K. Obviously not the line you look to get in 3 innings of work against a PawSox lineup that has been ripped apart due the Red Sox struggles and injuries but Stroman seemed upbeat and even remarked that Boston affiliates have hit him well before.

Stroman tore his knee on March 10th during fielding drills in Spring Training and began a long road to recovery. Knee injuries, most expect to take a full year but some have come back sooner, Adrian Peterson comes to mind of the Minnesota Vikings. Stroman even went back to class at Duke University to finish his degree while rehabbing.

The prolific Toronto offense is what comes to mind when most think of the Blue Jays but the pitching since the acquisition of David Price is what has been of note for the Jays. With all the moves the Blue Jays made this season it looks like they are going for it and Marcus Stroman will soon be back sooner than many thought.

Jonathan Diaz Reflects on Time With 2013 Red Sox

Jonathan Diaz

It was one-and-done for Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jonathan Diaz in the Boston Red Sox organization. After spending the 2013 season mostly with the PawSox, he is back where he feels he belongs—with the Blue Jays organization.
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jonathan diaz“It feels like home,” Diaz said of playing in the Blue Jays system. “I know a lot of the people here, I feel very comfortable and it’s good to be back here.”

Nine out of his ten pro seasons have come with the Blue Jays organization, so it is fair to say not only is he comfortable with them, but they are comfortable with him.
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When former Blue Jays manager John Farrell was traded to the Red Sox the same year Diaz became a free agent, he took a leap of faith and followed in the big league skipper’s footsteps—to Boston.

“I could have signed back with the Blue Jays, but I knew (John) Farrell, (Brian) Butterfield and (Torey) Lovullo from two big league camps the previous years,” he said. “That was part of my decision since they knew what I was about, they were comfortable with me. I think that allowed me to get a chance in the big leagues that year.”
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Plagued by injuries in the infield, the Red Sox called Diaz up to help fill the void at third base early in the season, making his MLB debut at 28 years old. He played in five games for Boston, primarily as a defensive replacement and scored two runs as a pinch runner. While his contributions did not appear to be game-changing, manager John Farrell raved about Diaz’ abilities in the field. It goes without saying that Farrell was a little disappointed when Diaz went back to Toronto—although he had a better opportunity in Canada.

Since Diaz logged big league time with the Red Sox in 2013, he earned himself a World Series ring, albeit he was not on the postseason roster.

diaz blue jays“It’s pretty crazy to think I got called up and only played for a week,” Diaz said. “it almost feels undeserved, especially with so many big leaguers that played so long and never got one. But it is definitely something special that I’ll cherish forever.”
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Anyone and everyone who makes the slightest contribution to a big league team gets a ring and it is fair to say he contributed more than a handful of guys who got a ring. After all, pitcher Brayan Villarreal got a ring and he threw just four pitches for Boston that season. He walked San Francisco Giants infielder Marco Scutaro which drove in the game winning run for the San Francisco Giants.

Lifetime, Diaz is a .143 hitter in 28 big league games, but he has yet to commit an error in 50 opportunities. Defense is his strong point, but that does not mean he is going to stop trying to get better. Now an infielder for the Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays AAA affiliate), the 30-year-old still hopes to get better every day.
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“I try to continue to improve in every aspect of my game,” he said. “I just try to put up good at-bats and make plays for our pitcher. I’m just trying to help the team win— I’m a team guy.”

Steven Wright Struggles in First Two Starts for PawSox

Steven Wright

After pitching 5 innings of relief and getting the win in the 19 inning game against the Yankees two weeks ago, Steven Wright got sent down to AAA Pawtucket to make room on the roster for starter Joe Kelly. Since his demotion, Wright has not looked great in two starts with the PawSox.

In the home opener for the PawSox against the Rochester Red Wings, Wright went 5 Steven Wrightinnings with a line of 8 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, and 2 K’s. Being a knuckleballer, Wright could easily throw until his arm fell off, but that line is somewhat discouraging considering the 4 walks. Some of the runs were unearned so, his defense did not bail him out in some situations. Still, if the Red Sox are looking for a depth starter, they will need a pitcher who can get out of jams in the AL East.

In his most recent start with the PawSox Wednesday, Wright went 6 innings with a line of 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB and 10 K’s. As Sox fans found out last week when Clay Buchholz gave up 11 hits, but kept the game close, it is only a matter of time until all those hits pile up and the other team capitalizes like Buffalo did. The encouraging thing to take from this start was his 10 strikeouts. The Buffalo hitters, who were not making contact, were swinging and missing—and quite frequently. With the PawSox, Wright will be given more time to get out of jams thaN if he were with the big league club, which could help him down the line. Red Sox fans know through the Tim Wakefield years that a knuckle ball can sometimes knuckle and other times stay flat.

Wright is hardly a prospect anymore at the age of 30, but the Red Sox have liked what they’ve gotten out of him since acquiring him in a minor league trade with the Indians in 2012. Wright seems to be the pitcher who is next in line, should an injury occur in the big league rotation, but with Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez looking great in their first few starts with the PawSox, Wright will have to start having better outcomes. Of course sometimes teams do not care about the statistics and it is more about the makeup of a player.

As of right now the PawSox are going with a six man rotation since Wright has been sent down. Henry Owens will start on Thursday, followed by Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, and Brian Johnson this weekend in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Keith Couch will likely follow Johnson in the next series against Syracuse.