Opening day can’t come soon enough for Stroman

Jays' new ace to start season April 3 against Tampa Bay

With the Blue Jays regular season kicking off on Sunday, no one seems to be more pumped than Marcus Stroman.

“I’m excited to be the ace and I’m looking forward to running with it,” Stroman said during a press conference.

It was expected when the organization gave up on signing David Price for the 2016 season that Stroman would fill the role as the number one starter in the rotation

Jays’ skipper John Gibbons confirmed earlier this week that the 24-year-old right-hander would assume the position of being the opening day starter on April 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Eager for the opportunity, Stroman can’t wait to begin another season with high expectations.

“I put myself in a position where I’ve worked extremely hard, and I’ve worked like an ace, so now that I can actually go out there and be the ace, it’s extremely gratifying.”

The 2012 first-round pick was a strong candidate to start in last year’s opening game but tore a ligament during spring training and was expected to be out indefinitely.

Stroman decided so go back to Duke University where he would take a rehabilitation program, while getting his degree in sociology.

In September, he returned to the Jay’s roster to make four regular-season starts, going 4-0 with an earned-run average of 1.67. He also made three post-season starts against Texas and Kansas City, arranging a 1-0 record, 4.19 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.

Thus far, Stroman has made four appearances in Florida with a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched.