NEW YORK — Given a four-run first-inning lead, Toronto's Marcus Stroman allowed his first two batters to reach base, then a three-run homer to Matt Holliday. Pitching two days after his 26th birthday, the right-hander kept trying to stretch his pitching arm.
Stroman was gone after three innings, his shortest start in three years, removed from the Blue Jays' 8-6 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night because of tightness in his right armpit.
"It's not something I'm slightly concerned with," Stroman said. "Just general tightness in my armpit. Just caution on the side of being safe."
Selected MVP of the World Baseball Classic after helping the U.S. win its first WBC title, Stroman allowed five runs and six hits, his shortest start since the Chicago White Sox chased him after two outs on Aug. 15, 2014. Stroman entered 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA in eight starts against the Yankees.
"Got to be smart, get him out of there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Plus, tough night for him, anyway. He wasn't going to last much longer, anyway."
Stroman threw 36 of 66 pitches for strikes on a cool evening. He left with the Blue Jays ahead 6-5.
"Just had trouble getting loose today," he said. "The tightness was causing it to be a little tough to get extension at some points."
Last in the AL East at 9-19, Toronto already is missing starting pitchers Aaron Sanchez (split finger nail) and J.A. Happ (elbow soreness) along with third baseman Josh Donaldson (right calf) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (right hamstring).
Blue Jays: After a day off, LHP Francisco Liriano (2-2) starts a series opener Friday at Tampa Bay.
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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press