Jordan Montgomery will be available to pitch in the playoffs — if the Yankees advance past Tuesday’s AL wild-card game — Joe Girardi said.
The 24-year-old lefty completed an outstanding rookie season on Sunday, tossing 5.1 innings of one-run ball. He produced a 9-7 record with a 3.88 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 155.1 innings.
His 29 starts were the fifth-most by a rookie in franchise history.
The Yankees had shuffled Montgomery in and out of the rotation for a period as a way to limit his innings.
“You could always do better, but it’s a fine start,” Montgomery said after the Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays. “You definitely think of the big leagues and ‘Oh wow, it’s going to be hard,’ and it lived up to that. I’ve just go to settle in and trust my stuff.”
Montgomery’s story is special because he came out of nowhere in spring training to earn a rotation spot. He then stepped up on the mound, using his four-pitch mix and downhill angle to deceive hitters.
Joe Girardi praised the improvement of the southpaw’s slider.
“We’re really encouraged by what he’s done and the progress that he’s made,” Girardi said. “His schedule was somewhat interrupted in the middle because we were trying to cut down on his innings. I thought he handled that really well, so I thought he had an impressive year.”
Montgomery was one of several Baby Bombers to make a significant impact, joining Aaron Judge (25), Gary Sanchez (24) and Luis Severino (23).
“It’s been awesome,” Montgomery said. “It’s about the best time to be a Yankee and be young right now, it’s definitely fun having all these young guys around.”
If the Yankees advance to the ALDS, they could go with a four-man rotation that includes Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia, Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
Joe Girardi said he’ll have to make a couple decisions on the AL wild-card roster: “We’ll probably carry 9-10 pitchers, probably 15 position players, so there are a couple spots we want to look at,” Girardi said. … Adam Warren, in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list due to a back injury, retired all three batters he faced. “He threw the ball well,” Girardi said. … Aaron Judge was presented with a crystal gavel by Brian Cashman and VP of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer before the game for breaking the all-time, single-season rookie home run record, which now sits at 52. … The Yankees blasted 241 homers – fourth-most in franchise history, and went 51-30 at home. … The Twins finished 85-77. … Matt Holliday snapped a 52 at-bat homerless stretch in the seventh.