Marcus Stroman has always marched to the beat of his own drummer, but the events of Friday afternoon were strange even for him. Rather than tweet something out — which he did earlier this season regarding fruitless extension talks — or wait for postgame media availability, the righty actually went up to the Wrigley Field press box during the game to engage members of the media and explain his injury.
Stroman was set to return from the IL for Wednesday’s game against the White Sox, but it was revealed that he had suffered fractured rib cartilage and would remain shelved indefinitely. That’s not the kind of injury you see in baseball since it typically results from a direct blow to the chest, like in a hard fall or a car crash. In this case, however, the righty said he’s not sure what caused the issue.
“I was throwing on Sunday in Toronto and I felt a little crampy feeling, nothing crazy,” Stroman shared with Sahadev Sharma and others. “I threw my bullpen, got done with all my work and after I cooled down, it was kind of hard to breathe. Kind of in my diaphragm and rib area. So I went through some things with the trainers.”
There’s no specific timetable for his return at this point, though this kind of injury can take six weeks or more to heal. Stroman has access to excellent medical care and he’s proven to be a quick healer in the past, like when he suffered a torn ACL in March of 2015 and pitched again in September of that year.
“I have a fracture in my rib cartilage. I bounce back quick,” Stroman explained. “I came back from a fully torn ACL in five months. I’m a workhorse. I’m someone who throws and has for years. My history and my career speak for themselves.”
All that said, it’ll probably be more than a month before he can get back on the mound in live action. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score tweeted that Stroman said he’d be “totally inactive at least a few weeks,” at which point he’ll have to ramp back up over another two or three weeks. It’s not inconceivable that he’ll miss the remainder of the season.
That greatly increases the odds that the righty will opt into the third year of his deal with the Cubs for $21 million rather than seeking a bigger deal on the open market. Provided he’s healthy and pitching like he did through the second half of last season and most of the first half this year, that’s a bargain. Still, this whole situation remains very odd.