Stroman throws simulated game in Dunedin

Recovering from torn ACL, Blue Jays righty set to make rehab start for Class A Lansing

Stroman throws simulated game in Dunedin

TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman is another step closer to returning to the Blue Jays' roster after a simulated game on Friday. The right-hander threw 51 pitches at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., and he said in a tweet that he "crushed it."

Toronto is stretching Stroman out as a starter, leaving open the possibility that he could join the rotation when he comes off the 60-day disabled list. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that will depend on how Stroman fares in his two rehab starts, which he's scheduled to make with Class A Lansing on Wednesday and Triple-A Buffalo on Sept. 7, the final day of the Minor League season.

"If things go well, he'd come up here and start, I would think," Gibbons said.

It remains to be seen where Stroman would fit in to the starting rotation. Gibbons didn't rule out using six starters, but a lot will depend on how Stroman performs in the next 10 days. Gibbons said he could also use the 24-year-old as a spot starter.

"It might give everybody else a breather," Gibbons said. "If he comes back and he's really good, he could turn some things upside down, I guess you could say."

The Blue Jays shortened their rotation to four men on their recent road trip, opting to send Drew Hutchison to the Bisons. That move was only temporary, though, as Hutchison is set to be recalled Saturday to pitch against the Tigers at Rogers Centre.

Stroman was originally thought to be done for the season when he had left knee surgery to repair a torn ACL sustained in Spring Training. But his rehab has gone better than expected, and he's on the verge of returning to the big leagues ahead of schedule. After rehabbing at Duke University -- completing his degree in the process -- Stroman threw his first simulated game Monday.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.