DUNEDIN, Fla. - Right-hander Shaun Marcum will be Toronto's opening day starter.
It will be the first time in eight years that Roy Halladay won't take the mound to open the Blue Jays' season. Now that Halladay has been traded to Philadelphia, manager Cito Gaston said Monday it was an easy decision because of the way Marcum has pitched this spring.
In two starts covering five shutout innings, he has allowed one hit and one walk while striking out four.
Gaston has not decided on the rest of the rotation for the opening series against Texas.
Marcum missed half of the 2008 season and all of 2009 recovering from right elbow surgery. He says "it never even crossed my mind that I'd be in this position."
"I think he's earned it from what he's done in the past," Gaston said of Marcum, 12-9 in 2007, his first full season with the Blue Jays, and 9-7 in 2008 before elbow surgery ended his season.
Marcum said he didn't know what to expect after missing a season without pitching, particularly with Ricky Romero posting a 13-9 record.
"The way Ricky threw the ball last year, I thought he deserved an opportunity but (general manager) Alex (Anthopoulos) chose me," Marcum said.
Marcum's scheduled start Sunday against Boston was rained out, so he spent part of the afternoon throwing about 80 pitches under cover.
"Facing hitters that aren't swinging was kind of disappointing," but getting the news about opening day lifted his spirits, Marcum said.
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