Fisher Cats' Marcus Stroman making up for lost time
“My dad always said I could go far in baseball,” he recalled in a phone interview while en route from Richmond, Va., to Manchester on Sunday. “Call it cocky, call it confidence. I’ve never accepted the notion I’m an under-sized athlete. I don’t accept that stereotype, and that’s why I have a chip on my shoulder. When people say I can’t pitch in the majors, it just fuels me more to prove them wrong.”
Scheduled to start against the Bowie Bay Sox in the opener of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ six-game homestand tonight at 7:05, Stroman is coming off a month of dominance over Eastern League batters.
“We’re always talking about what to throw on different hitters’ counts,” Stroman said. “He’s the one who encouraged me to pitch inside, something I didn’t do much in college.”
“Putting a hitter away early is my goal,” he said.
His recent streak of success has all but erased a bad ending to last season, when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant, not long after his promotion from short-season Single-A Vancouver to Double-A Manchester. That was a major setback for Stroman, whom the Blue Jays had drafted with the overall No. 22 selection and given a $1.8 million signing bonus.
“They knew it was an honest mistake and that I hadn’t done anything major,” said Stroman. “They told me to keep my head down for a while, stay quiet and keep working. They told me things would get better. The way I look at it, it turned out to be a blessing. I stayed focused and worked on all of my four pitches until my suspension was up. I came back a stronger person and a better pitcher from it.”
SERIES MATCHUPS: Stroman is one of several pitching attractions during the three-game series with Bowie. After he faces left-hander Jake Pettit (5-5, 4.85), the Fisher Cats’ co-ace, left Sean Nolin (7-3, 2.94), goes up against one of the Orioles’ top prospects, righty Mike Wright (9-2, 3.59) in a 12:05 matinee on Wednesday. Then, in a 7:05 p.m. game on Thursday, Kyle Drabek makes his first start in New Hampshire since going 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA for the Fisher Cats in 2010.
Richmond follows Bowie into Northeast Delta Dental Stadium later this week, with 7:05 p.m. games on Friday and Saturday, and a 3:05 p.m. finish to the homestand on Sunday.