When the Blue Jays failed to make an offer to bring back ace David Price for the 2016 season, it was widely assumed that Marcus Stroman would take over the No. 1 spot in the rotation.
Manager John Gibbons made it official Wednesday, confirming that Stroman will be the opening day starter on April 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Stroman will become the fifth different opening day starter for the Blue Jays since 2010, following Drew Hutchison, R.A. Dickey (2014, 2013), Ricky Romero (2012, 2011) and Shaun Marcum.
With the Blue Jays playing four games in Tampa, followed by an off day before their home opener April 8 against the Boston Red Sox, Stroman could also start the home opener for Toronto.
The 24-year-old right-hander was a candidate to start opening day in 2015 but tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in spring training and looked like he might miss the entire season.
Instead, Stroman went back to Duke University and undertook a strenuous rehabilitation program, strengthening his knee while completing his degree at the North Carolina school.
He returned to the Blue Jays to make four regular-season starts in September, compiling a 4-0 record with an earned-run average of 1.67.
Stroman made three starts for the Blue Jays in the post-season against Texas and Kansas City, compiling a 1-0 record, 4.19 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.
He was the Blue Jays' first pick in the 2012 amateur draft (22nd overall) and rose quickly through the farm system.
By 2014 he made seven starts for triple-A Buffalo before joining the Blue Jays. As a rookie major leaguer the 5-foot-8 Stroman fashioned an 11-6 record with a 3.65 ERA, making 20 starts while appearing in 26 games.
Thus far this spring, Stroman has made three appearances in Florida with a 2.79 ERA in 9 2/3 innings.