DUNEDIN — Marcus Stroman may still be the star of the Blue Jays starting rotation but he won’t get the ball on Opening Day.

That bit of news, delivered by manager John Gibbons on Monday morning, apparently did not sit well with Stroman, who continues to progress in his recovery from shoulder inflammation.

“My best judgement is that it makes no sense at this time because we want him healthy the whole year,” Gibbons said. “He doesn’t like that, I get that. But I think it’s best for him and best for the team.”

Gibbons was almost an hour late for his daily media briefing after waiting for Stroman to throw from the mound for the first time this spring and then breaking the news to the mercurial right-handed pitcher.

However, Gibbons said it’s still possible Stroman will get a start in the season-opening, four-game series against the Yankees at the Rogers Centre, which starts March 29.

“He could still pitch in that Yankee series. We’re just trying to buy him enough time,” he said. “The shoulder is really no big deal but my experience in this game is that sometimes it’s better to be smart than stupid.

At the Jays Fan Fest in Toronto in January, Stroman was adamant that he should get the ball for the opener and, based on performance last year, Gibbons agrees.

“I can’t blame him,” Gibbons said. “He deserved it. He earned it. He was going to be the guy but he’ll be fine.”

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