DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Toronto Blue Jays have named ace right-hander Alek Manoah as their opening-day starting pitcher for the upcoming Major League Baseball season.

Manoah, 25, was a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award last season after posting a 16-7 record with a 2.24 earned-run average and 180 strikeouts over 31 starts.

The six-foot-six, 285-pound native of Homestead, Fla., was scheduled to start in the Blue Jays' pre-season game against visiting Philadelphia on Friday. He entered the game with a 1-2 record, 3.77 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over four starts this spring.

Toronto opens the season next Thursday in St. Louis.

Manoah will be tasked with anchoring a promising Jays rotation that includes Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios and newcomer Chris Bassitt. Yusei Kikuchi has made a compelling case for the fifth spot in the rotation with an excellent spring.

Berrios was Toronto's opening day starter in 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.