Yankees’ Marcus Stroman discusses why he passed on starting opening day

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Once it was revealed defending AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole would be out for one to two months, the New York Yankees had to make a change.

Cole was on track to start opening day, but the Yankees ace will start the season on the injured list after he underwent testing on an injured elbow.

The Yanks’ rotation beyond Cole is mostly question marks, with Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes and Marcus Stroman all having struggles as recently as last year despite all being All-Stars.

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Marcus Stroman of the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field Feb. 19, 2024, in Tampa, Fla.  (New York Yankees/Getty Images)

The Yankees signed Stroman in the offseason, and he and the team discussed him as their possible opening day starter, but he passed on the opportunity.

Pitchers are notoriously known for being creatures of habit, and Stroman fits that mold. Never overpowering, Stroman said he wanted to stay “on schedule and on track.” His current program lines him up for the third game of the season on March 30.

Marcus Stroman pitching

Marcus Stroman of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch to the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning during a 2024 Grapefruit League spring training game at TD Ballpark March 8, 2024, in Dunedin, Fla.  (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

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“I think they thought that I was going to be like, ‘Hey, let me get it.’ That’s not my nature, man,” Stroman said earlier this week. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m confident in whoever goes out there from this squad to get the job done. At the end of the day, it’s just another game. I’m not someone who is going to be upset if I don’t get the opening day nod. 

“I’m trying to go out there for 30-plus starts. That’s the goal for me. I have confidence in anybody we throw out there for opening day. At this point, it’s too hard to get on schedule and on track. They came to me, but like I said, they agreed, and I agreed also that it was probably best to stay on the schedule we came up with.”

The Yankees announced Friday that Cortes would start opening day, likely followed by Rodon and Stroman. Stroman’s schedule also puts him in line to start the Yanks’ home opener April 5 against his first MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Stroman in dugout

Marcus Stroman of the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field Feb. 19, 2024, in Tampa, Fla.  (New York Yankees/Getty Images)

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The Bombers open their season March 28 against the Astros in Houston.

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