Blue Jays Figuring Out Best Role For Stroman





TORONTO—Marcus Stroman has been a starter at Duke. He has been a closer for Team USA.

The Blue Jays say they aren't sure where the righthander, their second first-round pick in the draft and the 22nd player taken overall, will fit into their plans.

"Our scouting department really likes him; they say he can do both," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "It's just a matter of until we have him we wouldn't want to make a decision either way. We've seen him start and we've seen him relieve and he's been very good at both."

But first, Anthopoulos said, they would like to have a chance to work with him before deciding what to do with the native of Medford, N.Y.

"Once we get him and we get a chance to know him and then we'll have a bit more of a feel of what the best thing was," he said.

One way to do it would be to let him start at first to give him innings and time to develop and then decide.

"He's polished, he's a college guy and he's been starting his whole career in college," Anthopoulos said. "He's a great athlete, great competitor, great makeup, very good stuff.

"We see a lot of times a very good fastball and slider but actually we have some guys who have seen a very good changeup out of him as well. That's where the upside is for him to start as well."

Duke pitching coach Sean Snedeker said that doubts brought on by his size (5-foot-9, 185 pounds) are one thing that drives the 21-year-old Stroman, who struck out 136 battters and had a 2.39 ERA this year.

"He wants to show that he can do it despite his size," he said. "His stuff will so overshadow his size. If you doubt the guy, it fuels his fire. I'm very confident he can make a rapid rise to the big leagues."

JAYS CHATTER

• A week after the draft, the Blue Jays announced that they had signed 22 of their 44 picks, including Mississippi high school outfielder D.J. Davis, who was taken 17th overall and signed for a $1.75 million bonus.

• Navy outfielder Alex Azor, selected in the 10th round, signed for $1,000, which freed up $124,000 to be applied to other signings. He will play at the short-season level before reporting for military duty, an obligation that will prevent him from playing until it is completed. The Blue Jays will put him on the restricted list during that time.