Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, who will start for the United States in the World Baseball Classic championship against Puerto Rico on Wednesday, told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports his mother has been harassed on social media.
Stroman, 25, had the choice to play for either the United States or Puerto Rico. His mother is Puerto Rican, and Stroman ultimately decided to pitch for the Americans.
"I know a lot of people have been saying bad things to her, going through the process, on social media," he told Rosenthal. "That's my mother. I stand by her always. She supports me through everything. I don't respect some of the comments that were made toward my mother."
Stroman also pitched for the United States Collegiate National Team in 2011. He appeared set to pitch for Puerto Rico after sending this tweet in 2013, however:
But he changed his mind, a decision some Puerto Rico fans have not taken well. Both Stroman and his mother spoke out against the harassment on Twitter:
"I'm really excited to pitch," he told Rosenthal. "I'm ready to go."
In his first start against the Puerto Ricans in this tournament, Stroman gave up four runs in 4.2 innings, a game the United States lost 6-5. Since that game, the United States has orchestrated wins over the Dominican Republic and Japan, reaching the final.
It's the first time the country has reached the WBC final. Stroman will face Puerto Rican pitcher Seth Lugo, and the Blue Jays star is in line to throw as many as 95 pitches in the game, USA manager Jim Leyland told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com.
"Oh, he's available to do it, but like any other game, the hitters will dictate that," Leyland said.