Preparing for Opening Day, the New York Yankees are trying to patch together their starting rotation. With two major injuries befalling the group, it is much more difficult. But lefty Jordan Montgomery has begun spring training with a promising start.
Undoubtedly, this is a small sample size. However, Montgomery has started spring training off as best as possible. Luis Severino misses the season following Tommy John surgery and James Paxton won’t be ready until May or June. Someone has to step up. Through two spring appearances, Montgomery has been the one to do so.
In those 4.0 innings pitched, Montgomery hasn’t allowed a run. He’s given up just one hit and walking one batter. What’s more impressive is the fact that he has seven strikeouts. For a southpaw looking to regain his status after basically missing all of 2019, this very encouraging.
Though overshadowed by the spring debut of ace Gerrit Cole, Montgomery was equally impressive on Feb. 24, which was also his first outing of the spring. Coming in after Cole’s one inning of work, Montgomery went 2.0 innings while striking out three and walking one. He didn’t allow a hit in the inning.
Despite it being his first outing of the spring, Montgomery was pleasantly surprised to see he touched 94 MPH on his fastball.
“That’s the first time I’ve hit 94 in a while,” said Montgomery. “And I was hitting it in sim games consistently. I feel good about my arm strength and mechanics and they’re only going to get cleaner, stronger.”
Montgomery’s next outing came Saturday in the first split-squad game of the spring. He led the group that traveled to Fort Myers to visit the Boston Red Sox. While Cole was starting in Tampa, Mongtomery was shining in his own way. He quietly built on his already strong spring.
The South Carolina product went 2.0 innings, striking out four and allowing one hit. Backing up his spring debut with another stellar outing continues to push optimism at an area of concern.
The starting rotation is led by Cole, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ currently. But Montgomery’s strong start to the spring should be giving the Yankees plenty of encouragement in filling one of the vacant spots.
It’s a small sample size of course, but Montgomery’s start to the spring has been nothing but promising.