DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays were dealt a devastating blow on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that Marcus Stroman tore the ACL in his left knee and is expected to miss the entire 2015 season.
Stroman suffered the injury while taking pitchers' fielding practice on the back fields at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium early Tuesday morning. He went to cover first base on a bunt, felt a pop in his knee and later underwent an MRI which revealed the damage.
The Blue Jays won't announce an official time frame for Stroman's return until later this week, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos fully admitted that the expectation is the promising young starter will not pitch at all in 2015.
"Marcus Stroman was doing a bunt play today, Josh Donaldson called him off on the play," Anthopoulos told reporters at a mid-afternoon news conference. "He planted his feet, felt a pop in his left knee, did an MRI and it confirmed a torn ACL.
"He's going to see Dr. [James] Andrews to get a second opinion, but pretty confident that's what it's going to be. He would ultimately be out for the year, but we would expect a full recovery."
Beyond devastated. Not being able to compete with my brothers each and every day is extremely disappointing. Still can't believe it.
The injury sent waves through the Blue Jays' clubhouse, with players noticeably downcast about the news. Even if Stroman didn't receive the Opening Day start, he was being viewed as the potential ace for a team with aspirations of making the postseason for the first time since 1993.
Expectations couldn't have been higher this season, and there was good reason for all of the pressure. Stroman added a sinker to his repertoire midway through last season, and it turned him into a completely different pitcher. The 23-year-old went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA, while striking out 111 over 130 2/3 innings in his rookie season and showing as much upside as anyone in the game.
Stroman wasn't available to talk to the media after the news was released, but Anthopoulos spoke to him earlier in the day and said the product of Duke University was having difficulty coming to grips with the freak accident.
"Crushed, probably a good way to put it," Anthopoulos said. "But it just goes to show you what kind of teammate he is, what kind of guy he is. We all know the energy he brings, how badly he wants to win and be part of this team.
"It's just one of those things. He's probably the best athlete on the team, as good of shape as anybody you're going to have, the last guy you would expect for that to happen. Just a freak thing and we move forward."
Stroman also added his thoughts on Twitter by saying: "Beyond devastated. Not being able to compete with my brothers each and every day is extremely disappointing. Still can't believe it."