Stroman expected to make next start

Stroman expected to make next start

BOSTON -- Marcus Stroman appears on track to make his next scheduled start, against the Tigers on Friday night, but the Blue Jays won't know for sure until a little bit later in the week.

Toronto's top starter this season had to leave his most recent outing in the second inning after he was struck by a line drive. Baltimore's Mark Trumbo hit a 107.5-mph liner directly off Stroman's right elbow, and although the incident was scary at the time, X-rays were negative, and there is no structural damage in the area.

Stroman is expected to throw a side session on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and if all goes well, he'll start the series opener vs. Detroit. Some swelling still needs to subside, but all signs point to him being ready to go without needing to miss an extended period of time.

"He's doing fine," said DeMarlo Hale, who is serving as acting manager with John Gibbons away from the team for the third consecutive day to attend to what the club has described as personal business. "He's walking around being his old self. We'll re-evaluate him, like we said, day to day. He's scheduled Friday, but we still have some time before that with the off-day on Thursday, and we're going to make sure that he's fine and ready to go.

"If he's not, we've got a number of options if we have to push him back. I'll let the medical people decide that, along with how he feels, and I'm sure sometime over the next few days, we'll know for certain if he'll start Friday."

If Stroman is unable to go, the Blue Jays could skip his start entirely and temporarily go with a four-man rotation, or they could turn to rookie right-hander Chris Rowley. Those are the backup plans, but neither scenario is expected to happen at this point, as all signs point to Stroman being available.

Stroman is 11-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 28 starts this season. He dealt with some blister issues earlier in the year but has yet to miss an outing in 2017.

"I'm sure he's going to have to throw a side session," Hale said. "We'll just let time take its course, and I'm sure [pitching coach] Pete [Walker] and the medical staff will dive into it and see what's best, along with the organization. I saw him earlier. He said he's feeling much better, but I think the swelling has to go down."

No timetable for Gibbons' return: It's not immediately clear how long Gibbons will be out.

"We have communicated through text, really about the game," Hale said. "I'm sure he's following, and I'm going to respect his privacy. When a decision is made, it will be made. That's how I'm approaching it."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. 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.