Jordan Montgomery’s sudden rise as rotation piece last season was a pleasant surprise for the Yankees, and the 25-year-old southpaw realizes the pressure to excel in the majors will continue to mount.
Montgomery, who on Friday was announced as New York’s No. 5 starter by first-year manager Aaron Boone, allowed four earned runs on five hits in 2.1 innings of work against the Miami Marlins (7-5 loss) in Jupiter, Fla. on Sunday, and later told the New York Daily News that he needs to meet the club’s lofty expectations, despite being awarded a rotation spot in early March.
“It’s nice to see them show some confidence in me. I just have to back it up now,” said Montgomery, who posted a 1.04 ERA in his first three spring appearances. “Today was a little rough. I’m just kind of in-between tempos right now, working fast, working slow, working fast. I’ll watch some tape from my first outings and get to work.”
As a rookie in 2017, Montgomery flourished during Grapefruit League play, and finished the regular season with a 9-7 record and 3.88 ERA in 115 innings (29 starts).
“I see it as his,” Boone said of Montgomery’s candidacy as the fifth starter on Friday. “I view it as he was very much a frontrunner for that spot. We’re really excited about not only the year he put together last year, but where we think he can continue to develop. When I look at him, I look at him as one of our starters.”
On Sunday, Montgomery allowed a two-run double to Miguel Rojas in the second inning, and after leaving the mound with one out in the third, Brian Anderson hit a three-run homer off of Yankees’ reliever Brady Lail. Overall, Montgomery faced 14 batters and threw 26 pitches.
According to the Daily News, Boone is looking for Montgomery to work deeper in games this year.
“He just has to continue to work on that command, especially that secondary pitch that he can steal a strike,” Boone said. “That’s the way he’s got to pitch and that’s why he’s had success.”