Not a lost season? Marcus Stroman could return from torn ACL to pitch for Blue Jays in September

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Toronto made a blockbuster deal for David Price at the trade deadline to anchor the pitching staff and now the Blue Jays may be adding another top-of-the-rotation arm to the mix.

Marcus Stroman, who had a fantastic rookie season in 2014 and was slated to be the Opening Day starter before suffering a torn ACL during spring training, is close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment with an eye toward pitching this season.

He was initially expected to miss the entire year, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Stroman has recently been throwing from flat ground and could be cleared to begin a rehab assignment as soon as August 21.

Whether that would leave him enough time to build up the arm strength necessary to start games for the Blue Jays in September and potentially October remains to be seen, but at the very least a late-season bullpen role seems possible.

Stroman posted a 3.65 ERA and 111/28 K/BB ratio in 131 innings as a 23-year-old rookie, averaging 94 miles per hour with his fastball and allowing just seven home runs in 534 plate appearances. Regardless of the role, if healthy Stroman has the ability to make a big impact.

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.