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Blue Jays shut down Marcus Stroman due to shoulder inflammation

Toronto’s ace has no timetable for return just yet, but the youngster is shooting for Opening Day.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have shut down starting pitcher Marcus Stroman due to shoulder inflammation in his right arm, according to’s Gregor Chisholm:

Sportsnet Canada’s Arden Zwelling reports that Stroman has dealt with the inflammation since January; the right-hander expects to be back on the mound in four to five days.

Stroman, 26, has shouldered the load of innings atop the Blue Jays’ rotation over the last two years, topping the 200-innings mark each season. The former 2012 first-rounder missed all but four starts in 2015 due to an ACL injury, but has rebounded nicely to make 32 starts and 33 starts in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

2017 was a banner year for Stroman, in which the ace pitched to a 3.09 ERA with 164 Ks in 201.0 innings, good for a 5.8 WAR according to Baseball Reference. Stroman also earned his first career Gold Glove Award, winning the nomination for American League pitchers.

Toronto heads into 2018 with a relatively strong rotation—a good sign for a club looking to contend with already-stacked Yankees and Red Sox lineups that added Giancarlo Stanton and J.D. Martinez to the division this winter. The Blue Jays held onto Marco Estrada and signed Jaime Garcia to an efficient 1-year, $10 million deal to join the staff, but the team’s true playoff chances may rest in the success of starter Aaron Sanchez’s comeback season, fresh off his frustrating blister fiasco last season.

Once healthy, Stroman and an J.A. Happ will be relied on to help the club be at least respectable in a very top-heavy AL East.