Stroman all systems go after spring debut

Blue Jays right-hander logs two innings in victory over Phillies

Stroman all systems go after spring debut

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- A little bit of adversity can be a good thing, especially when it comes in the non-pressure environment of Spring Training. Just ask Marcus Stroman.

Stroman made his spring debut on Tuesday afternoon and after a three-up, three-down first inning, he got into some trouble in the second. The Blue Jays' expected Opening Day starter allowed two runs on three hits with a strikeout over his two innings of work in a 5-3 victory over the Phillies.

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The pitching line wasn't pretty, but at this time of the year it doesn't have to be. There are more important things to worry about and after the outing Stroman was actually grateful the Phillies applied a little bit of pressure to an otherwise relaxed game.

"I want to face a little adversity like I did today," said Stroman, who went 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA in three postseason starts last year. "Get guys on, have to pitch like I did with guys on the corners. Being able to go from the stretch and working on tempo.

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"I was working on my tempo a lot this spring, trying to vary up my holds and vary up my delivery tempo. Just working on small things. I feel great, my body is good and I'm ready to rock."

Stroman retired the first two batters he faced in the inning, but he then proceeded to allow three consecutive singles to J.P. Arencibia, Cesar Hernandez and Carlos Ruiz. One positive sign was that the only hard hit ball of the bunch came on a sharp liner by Ruiz, which scored two runs.

The 24-year-old Stroman threw 23 of his 33 pitches for strikes and consistently hit 93 mph on his fastball while occasionally touching 94. He also used all of his pitches and should continue to improve as the club gets deeper into Spring Training. The first priority on Tuesday was all centred around command.

"I pretty much got to all of my pitches," Stroman said. "Obviously still working on some, but I feel like I had a pretty good feel for them all. Pretty good mix with [catcher Josh] Thole and I feel good.

"My sinker was good, my fastball command was good. I just need to work on burying my offspeed pitch up in counts, but that's right around the corner. I'm pretty happy with it."

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.