Marcus Stroman excited to join Yankees: ‘It’s the pinnacle of the sport’

Marcus Stroman is thrilled to be a Yankee. The pitcher, who signed a two-year, $37 million contract with the Yankees last month, threw his first live batting practice on Monday at Steinbrenner Field, as he prepares for the regular season. He said he felt good and was eager to pitch in front of the fans at Yankee Stadium.

“It’s exciting to put on the pinstripes and get those feels,” Stroman said. “Having a little bit of a crowd out there is pretty awesome. But, yeah, felt good. Just a matter of getting mechanics dialed in and feeling good at this point.”

Stroman, a Long Island native, grew up watching the Yankees and idolizing Derek Jeter. He said he always wanted to play for the Yankees at some point in his career, and that it was an honor and a privilege to join the storied franchise.

“I don’t know if I envisioned it [growing up], but playing for the New York Yankees as an organization is like the pinnacle of the sport,” Stroman said. “I feel like every player when you embark on this journey to play at the highest level, I feel like everyone wants to be a Yankee at some point.

“It’s kind of like the world-wide phenomenon you grow up watching, even if you’re not from New York. It’s an honor. I’m very grateful and thankful to be part of this organization. It’s an honor to put the pinstripes on and I don’t take that lightly. I’m excited to get to work.”

The pitcher hopes to make an impact on the Yankees’ rotation and help them win a championship

Marcus Stroman hopes to make an impact on the Yankees’ rotation and help them win a championship. The 30-year-old right-hander, who opted out of the 2021 season due to COVID-19 concerns, has a career record of 51-47 with a 3.76 ERA in seven seasons with the Blue Jays and the Mets.

Stroman said he was impressed by the Yankees’ lineup and bullpen, and that he was looking forward to working with catcher Gary Sanchez and pitching coach Matt Blake. He said he was confident in his abilities and his repertoire, which includes a sinker, a cutter, a slider, a changeup, and a curveball.

“I feel like I have five pitches that I can throw in any count,” Stroman said. “I feel like I can manipulate the ball better than anyone in the big leagues. I feel like I have a very high baseball IQ. I feel like I’m able to read swings very well. I feel like I’m able to make adjustments on the fly. I feel like I’m a very complete pitcher.”

Stroman said he was not intimidated by the pressure and the expectations that come with playing for the Yankees, and that he thrived on the big stage. He said he was motivated by the challenge and the opportunity to win a ring, something he has not done yet in his career.

“I love it. I love pressure. I love big moments. I love being on the mound with the game on the line,” Stroman said. “That’s kind of what fuels me. That’s kind of what I live for. I’m excited to be in those moments with the New York Yankees. There’s no better moment than that.

“I’m here to win. I’m here to win a World Series. That’s the goal. That’s the only goal. Anything short of that is a failure. I’m excited to be here with a group of guys who have that same mindset, who have that same hunger, who have that same drive.”

The pitcher has no hard feelings with Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who criticized his decision to opt out

Marcus Stroman has no hard feelings with Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who criticized his decision to opt out of the 2021 season. Alderson said in December that Stroman took advantage of the system by accepting the qualifying offer from the Mets, pitching in one game, and then opting out, thus becoming a free agent.

Stroman said he respected Alderson and his opinion, but that he did not regret his decision, which he made for his health and his family’s well-being. He said he was focused on the present and the future, and that he was happy to be with the Yankees.

“I have nothing but respect for Sandy,” Stroman said. “Obviously, he’s an incredible baseball mind. He’s done a lot in this game. He’s someone who I’ve always looked up to. But I’m not really worried about what Sandy said. I know who I am. I know what I stand for. I know what my family thinks of me. I know what my close friends think of me. That’s all that matters to me.

“I’m not here to go back and forth with Sandy. I’m here to pitch. I’m here to dominate. I’m here to win a World Series with the New York Yankees. That’s where my mindset is. That’s where my focus is. I wish nothing but the best for Sandy and the Mets, but I’m here now and I’m excited to be here.”

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