Stroman gets shot at Rangers today

Published 11:14 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays stacked a pair of former Cy Young Award winners to prolong their stay in the AL Division Series.

For the deciding Game 5, they’ll turn to a starter who was once expected to miss the entire season.

Marcus Stroman, who tore a ligament in his left knee during a spring training fielding drill in March, will get the ball when the Blue Jays host the Texas Rangers in a winner-take-all affair this afternoon.

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“He’s defied all the odds, that’s for sure,” manager John Gibbons said. “If anybody can rise to the occasion, it would be him.”

Stroman went 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA after rejoining the rotation in mid-September. He’ll face Texas lefty Cole Hamels.

Now Stroman, who spent most of the summer rehabbing his knee at Duke University while also finishing up his degree, will try to pitch the Blue Jays into their first AL Championship Series since 1993.

“I’m just so excited for this opportunity,” the 24-year-old righty said Tuesday. “Those dog days at Duke when it’s kind of tough to get through a workout with the knee pain, that’s what you kind of have in the back of your mind to keep you going.”

After a series of simulated games at Toronto’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, Stroman started at Class A Lansing on Sept. 2, striking out seven in 4 2/3 hitless innings. He struggled in a Triple-A game against Pawtucket on Sept. 7, but bounced back to beat the New York Yankees in his season debut.