Posted on May 3, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Yankees have lost a key part of their starting rotation for the foreseeable future. The Yankees placed lefty Jordan Montgomery on the DL Wednesday with a flexor strain in his left elbow. The team projects that he’ll miss six to eight weeks of action. Montgomery will not do any throwing for at least two or three weeks before he attempts to work his way back from the injury.
Montgomery started Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros. He got through the first inning on just seven pitches but was soon removed after experiencing tightness in his elbow.
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“It was giving me fits for a little while,” Montgomery said after Tuesday’s start. “I thought I could throw through it. I’ve been doing a little extra treatment and little exercises. In college and the minor leagues, I’ve been able to grind through something like this. But it gave me a little discomfort.”
On Wednesday, Montgomery had his elbow checked out and was given a diagnosis of a flexor strain. That injury is sometimes a stepping stone on the way to Tommy John surgery. However, Yankees manager Aaron Boone says there’s no reason to believe Montgomery is heading toward surgery. Boone reiterates the plan is shut him down for a few weeks and hopefully get Montgomery back within eight weeks.
“It’s not great news, but not worst-case news, either,” said Boone. “Hopefully, he can use this time to get well, get strong and help us for most of the second half.”
The timeline laid out could mean that Montgomery doesn’t return until early July. That’s a significant loss for any team, even a team that recently rattled off nine wins in a row. Over his first six starts of the season, Montgomery is 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA, picking up where he left off last year when he went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts.
“He’s pitched really well,” said Boone. “He’s kind of given us a chance to win every time he’s gone out there. So we’ll just have to pick up the slack.”
Rookie Domingo German will be given the first chance to fill Montgomery’s spot in the rotation. German is listed as the team’s no. 18 prospect, according to MLB.com. He’s been quite useful for the Yankees coming out of the bullpen this year. In five outings, German has compiled 14.1 innings, posting a 3.77 ERA. He threw four shutout innings against the Astros after Montgomery left Tuesday’s game. Between double-A and triple-A last year, he posted a 2.88 ERA.
“Domingo has been really valuable for us as well,” says Boone. “We have a lot of confidence in him being able to step into that role.”
If there’s a silver lining for the Yankees, it’s that the rest of their rotation is in good shape. To be fair, Sonny Gray has struggled early in the year. But C.C. Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka are all off to good starts. Obviously, Montgomery leaves big shoes to fill after his steady performance over the first month of the season. But it’s not a season-ending injury and the Yankees stand a good chance to survive the next two months without the young lefty.