Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Confident, Not Cocky: Blue Jays' Stroman Ready for Game 5 Start against Rangers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Confident, Not Cocky: Blue Jays' Stroman Ready for Game 5 Start against Rangers

Article excerpt

Blue Jays turn to Stroman for Game 5 start


TORONTO - There's no room for doubt in Marcus Stroman's mind.

The 24-year-old will start for the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. Stroman, who missed the majority of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, is very sure of himself headed in to the biggest game of his young career.

"I would say I'm confident. Some people may call it cocky. It is what it is," said the five-foot-eight Stroman on Tuesday afternoon. "It's something that my dad kind of raised me with, a huge chip on my shoulder. I'm not scared to say that, I'm extremely confident. That's something that I pride myself on, that's the reason I'm at where I'm at.

"Something my father kind of raised me on. He always told me I'm going to be the smallest guy in the room so I have to be the most confident and that's something that I kind of pitch with today."

That self-confidence has not gone unnoticed by his teammates in Toronto. Manager John Gibbons loves Stroman's attitude and is pleased to put the pitcher in the decisive game of the best-of-five ALDS.

"His parents did a tremendous job with him," said Gibbons. "He's smart, intelligent, he's got everything going. But he's cocky. He's one of those guys, you know, you think OK, he believes he can do it but let's see it."

Stroman exceeded all expectations and returned to the Blue Jays' starting rotation in early September after injuring his knee at spring training. He won all four games he started in September with 18 strikeouts and a 1.67 earned-run average. He was solid in his only post-season start, giving up four runs -- three earned -- and striking out five over seven innings of work in Toronto's 6-4, 14-inning loss in Game 2.

He said that being put in this kind of situation, with the Blue Jays' season on the line, is exactly what he used to motivate himself during his rehabilitation process at Duke University in North Carolina.

"Obviously it's a perfect situation that kind of played out in my head," said Stroman at a news conference in the bowels of Rogers Centre. "And it's happening, and I mean, I get the chills even just thinking about being in the position that I am now, just coming from where I came. …

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