With a crowded starting rotation after the acquisitions of Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia, the Yankees sent Jordan Montgomery down to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre on Sunday.
The demotion came a day after he struck out seven Cleveland Indians in five innings on 65 pitches, while allowing one run on three hits and walking zero.
Montgomery won the hearts of Yankees fans in Spring Training, where he threw four perfect innings against the Detroit Tigers, followed by striking out eight Tampa Bay Rays in 4.1 innings.
The 24-year-old left-hander was the second-best rookie on the Yankees team, and arguably the American League, during his first 14 starts, where he held a 3.53 ERA and a 8.71 K/9.
He struggled in his next six starts, though, with his ERA in the month of July climbing up to 5.90, while opponents were hitting .280 against him.
However, despite the recent struggles, that’s partially the reason why Montgomery hopped on the Scranton shuttle.
While his season ERA has climbed up to 4.05 on the season, he was on pace to throw 187 innings, which would have shattered his minor-league career high of 151 innings from last year.
Plus, it has been noted, specifically by Joe Girardi, that the Yankees would not go into a six-man rotation. Gray was an automatic to be in the rotation, and Garcia has made just nine career relief appearances – all of them came in 2008, his rookie season.
After Garcia allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits, while walking four in 4.1 innings, followed by Montgomery’s shortened gem, it was reasonable for a mass confusion among Yankees fans, especially since Garcia’s ERA currently stands at 6.35.
But remember, September call-ups are just over three weeks away, and without the demotion, Montgomery could have been on track to throw 200 innings, considering there is a realistic chance the Yankees could be playing postseason baseball in October. Yankees fans should expect to see Montgomery back in pinstripes on September 1, fully rested and with whatever kinks he had in July resolved.
This is hardly a demotion for the southpaw – there is just simply no room for him, and his innings limit (although Girardi won’t admit there is one), on the roster at the current moment.