By Mike Harrington
If you were coming to Coca-Cola Field tonight to see Marcus Stroman make the start in the Bisons' homestand opener, by all means still make the trip. The weather is beautiful (for once). But you won't be seeing Stroman on the hill.
The Blue Jays' top pitching prospect has been scratched from his scheduled start and Esmil Rogers is taking his place in the 7:05 series opener against Syracuse. Manager Gary Allenson did not have much information on the Stroman situation, other than to say there's no health issues for the 23-year-old. Hmmm.
The Bisons had a 4 a.m. wakeup call today for their 6:30 a.m. flight from Indianapolis and are not holding batting practice as usual. In fact, they have a late report time to the ballpark but Stroman is not here. Stroman did some long-tossing and running about 5:15 and then headed into the clubhouse.
Stroman, in fact, tweeted today about mall shopping (ostensibly at the Walden Galleria) and was not on the Bisons' flight home this morning. That would not be all that unusual that he would have come back yesterday, given that he was scheduled to go tonight.
"I have no idea. I'm kind of on hold," Stroman told me after coming off the field. "I'm just waiting."
Stroman said agent Brody Schofield had no further information for him either, other than to tell him to hold on and see what happens.
"They told me they just wanted me in Buffalo," Stroman said. "There's been very, very little communication on it. There's a chance I might be taking a car service out of here soon to go up there but other than that, I really don't know. It's just kind of a holding pattern. I honestly have no idea."
The rotation as it stands right now for this series has Rogers followed by Deck McGuire, Ricky Romero and Kyle Drabek.
But, as Allenson wryly noted, "It's constantly changing every day."
Stroman has made two starts for the Bisons since returning from Toronto and neither was all that auspicious. He took the loss in each, allowing seven earned runs over a combined nine innings. But he continued to have a high strikeout/walk ratio with nine strikeouts and just two walks.
For the season with the Bisons, he's 2-4 in seven starts with a 3.03 earned-run average -- but has 45 strikeouts and nine walks in 35 2/3 innings.
"I'm 100 percent ready. Starting is ultimately what I want to do," Stroman said. "But whatever they need me to do is fine. It's the big leagues. I guess this is how it works. I'm still new to all this."
The Blue Jays are scheduled to start Drew Hutchison and Mark Buehrle this weekend against Kansas City. There was no indication of any issues with the Toronto rotation when manager John Gibbons met the media this afternoon. But antennas are up at both ends of the QEW for a Stroman callup. In addition, it's known the Chicago Cubs are widely interested in Stroman in any deal for ace Jeff Samardzija -- as I wrote about in Sunday's Inside Baseball column -- and that they've scouted Stroman in Buffalo at least once this season. Stay tuned.
7:15 p.m. update: Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Sportsnet's Barry Davis that Stroman is indeed in limbo pending the result of J.A. Happ's start tonight. Stroman could be needed in long relief or to start Saturday if the Jays want to go to a six-man rotation through one turn.
Rogers was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on May 23 and reported to Buffalo after clearing waivers. He pitched 2 1/3 shutout innings in his Bisons debut Monday in Indianapolis.
"Might as well see him," Allenson said. "He threw the ball pretty good the other day. Some of these guys, you get them down, they're a little rusty and stuff. It takes them a few times. He was all right. It wasn't like he was locked in like a Greg Maddux but he looked good."
The Bisons' bullpen has also taken a major hit as standout late-inning specialist Bobby Korecky had his contract purchased by the Blue Jays this afternoon. Korecky is 3-1 with five saves and an 0.29 ERA -- allowing just one run in 31 innings and striking out 32.
"That's pretty good," deadpanned Allenson. "It looks like it's hittable but apparently it's not. You don't see a lot of good swings off him."
Rob Rasmussen has returned to the Bisons from the Blue Jays, and Allenson said Neil Wagner likely gets the ball in the ninth inning. Here's the Bisons' lineup tonight:
Darin Mastroianni, cf
Ryan Goins, 2b
Jared Goedert, 1b
Dan Johnson, dh
Matt Tuiasosopo, lf
A.J. Jimenez, c
Munenori Kawasaki, ss
Kenny Wilson, rf
Jonathan Diaz, 3b
Esmil Rogers, p