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Blue Jays' Stroman makes 1st spring training start

(AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

By MARK DIDTLER

Associated Press

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Marcus Stroman has his eyes on starting the Toronto Blue Jays' fourth game of the regular season April 1 against the New York Yankees.

Stroman pitched two hitless innings against the Canadian Junior National Team in his first spring training start Saturday after being sidelined by inflammation in his right shoulder.

"I'll be out there the fourth game of the series and I'll be ready to rock," Stroman said. "I can't wait."

Said Toronto bench coach DeMarlo Hale: "I know the competitor that he is, he's going to be pushing for that, no doubt.".

Stroman struck out two and walked one during a 27-pitch outing.

"I thought it went really well," he said. "My changeup was great, sinker was good, slider will come along the next couple starts."

The injury cost a disappointed Stroman a chance at the opening day start March 29 at home against the Yankees.

"That's what I wanted, I want to be that guy to have the ball on opening day," Stroman said. "It just didn't work out."

Stroman went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA last year. He struck out 164, two shy of his career high, and walked 62 in 201 innings.

"I know what I'm capable of, I'm not close to my pinnacle I can promise you that," Stroman said.

The 26-year-old Stroman is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. He is open to negotiating a multiyear contract.

NOTES: The Blue Jays agreed to a minor league contract with INF Danny Espinosa, who was released by the Yankees on Monday. Espinosa hit .160 (4 for 25) in 12 spring training games for New York. ... The Blue Jays claimed LHP Sam Moll off waivers from Seattle. Moll was 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA in 11 games for Oakland last year as a rookie. Moll had not allowed a run in four spring games this year for the Mariners, covering four innings.

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Updated March 17, 2018

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