Stroman on return: 'I couldn't be more happy'

Stroman on return: 'I couldn't be more happy'

NEW YORK -- Marcus Stroman made a triumphant return to the mound on Saturday night, with five strong innings against the Yankees in his first appearance of the season.

Stroman allowed three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out a pair in a 10-7 victory over the Yankees. He threw 48 of his 78 pitches for strikes and was going to return for a sixth inning before his start was cut short due to a 33-minute rain delay.

The outing was a major step in the right direction for a player who was once ruled out for the season because of a torn ACL in his left knee. The fact that he made it back at all is impressive, but Stroman now looks forward to building up more strength with each start -- and becoming a major factor down the stretch.

"All of the hard work and everything, being in the position that I am today, being back with my brothers and my teammates, just shows that everything paid off and I couldn't be more happy," Stroman said.

"It's only going to get better from here. Really pleased. One bad pitch, I left a pitch up to [Brett] Gardner, but for the most part kept the ball on the ground pretty well. Most importantly, did everything in my power to put this team in a position to win. This offense is incredible."

Stroman carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning until he surrendered an infield single to John Ryan Murphy. Brendan Ryan followed with an infield single of his own two batters later, before Gardner delivered the big blow with a three-run shot to right.

Under other circumstances, that could have spoiled Stroman's debut, but not on this night. Toronto staked Stroman to an early lead, thanks to a six-run second inning -- and, for the most part, the 24-year-old right-hander was able to cruise through most of his outing without much pressure.

Stroman consistently hit the mid-90s with his fastball while also debuting a changeup that he worked on during his absence. The native of Long Island, N.Y., also flashed his plus curveball and displayed relatively strong command for someone who was limited to just two rehab appearances before his return.

"Shoot, I thought he was great," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Stroman, who retired 10 of his 15 outs via ground balls. "For debuting, in not ideal conditions either, I thought he looked fantastic. I really did."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.