Amid a disappointing season with the Chicago Cubs, Marcus Stroman made his highly-anticipated return to the Rogers Centre on Monday, and the 31-year-old pitcher didn’t shy away from sharing his feelings about his former team.
Before taking the field, Stroman sent out an emotional message on social media, showing his appreciation for Canada and thanking everyone who followed him during his time with the Blue Jays. He also added that Toronto still holds a special place in his heart.
CANADA! I love you all. Toronto will forever hold a special place in my heart. The culture, the people, and the city are second to none. Thank you for always showing love and riding with me. Beyond thankful and grateful for my time here. Will forever come back and visit! 🇨🇦
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) August 29, 2022
Upon arriving at the stadium, Stroman sought out a young baseball fan from England named Ethan, who was holding a poster that read, “I love baseball because of Marcus Stroman.”
After meeting Ethan and his mom, the former Blue Jay offered to sign a few autographs while also taking a picture with one of his biggest fans. It was a moment the young Blue Jays supporter will cherish for the rest of his life.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 30, 2022
The 2019 All-Star also caught up with local media prior to Monday’s series opener and shared his thoughts about the current Blue Jays squad. Among other topics, he raved about Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s rise to stardom and Jordan Romano’s emergence as one of the sport’s top closers.
Stroman also admitted that while the Cubs likely won’t be playoff-bound this season, if there’s one team he’ll be rooting for, it’s the Blue Jays.
— Mitch Bannon (@MitchBannon) August 29, 2022
The Medford, N.Y., native was also asked about Toronto’s interim manager John Schneider, who briefly coached him in 2019. While the two didn’t spend much time together, the veteran righty couldn’t be happier for the skipper.
Though he didn’t pitch in Monday’s contest, Stroman received a pre-game tribute video from the Blue Jays, highlighting a few of his brightest moments with the franchise. Afterwards, the fan favourite was treated to a standing ovation from the home crowd.
Stroman was selected 22nd overall by the Blue Jays in the 2012 draft and played five and a half seasons with Canada’s only MLB franchise from 2014-19. He won a Gold Glove Award in 2017 as the AL’s top defensive pitcher.
Overall, the ground-ball specialist posted a 3.76 ERA and a 3.60 FIP across 135 career appearances with the Blue Jays. He was also worth 14.9 fWAR during his tenure in Toronto.
The 5-foot-7 hurler was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for pitchers Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay ahead of the 2019 trade deadline. His New York homecoming spanned just two and a half years, departing in free agency last winter.
Gaining a fresh start elsewhere, Stroman joined the Cubs on a three-year, $71-million contract. His deal includes an opt-clause after next season, allowing him to re-enter free agency at the age of 32.
The Blue Jays will be hoping Stroman doesn’t begin to rebound from his poor 4.10 ERA on the season when he takes the mound on Tuesday.
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