TORONTO — New York Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery was demoted to the minor leagues in an attempt to limit his innings.
New York acquired Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, and they will remain in the rotation with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia.
A 24-year-old left-hander, Montgomery was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday evening after going 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts and 115 2/3 innings. New York wants him to pitch about 180 innings this year. He set a career high with 139 1/3 innings at Double-A Trenton and Scranton last season.
“We’re going to shorten some outings down there just to cut back a little bit,” Girardi said before Tuesday’s series opener at Toronto. “I think he’s disappointed but, as I tried to reassure him, it’s because we really care about him. This is not just a one-year deal for him. We envision him being a starter here a long time and we want to make sure we don’t push him too hard.”
Montgomery was removed from Saturday’s 2-1 win at Cleveland after allowing one run and three hits in five innings. Girardi said Montgomery may rejoin the Yankees’ rotation after active rosters expand from 25 to 40 on Sept. 1.
“We’re very comfortable putting him back in the rotation if duty calls,” Girardi said.
Right-hander Bryan Mitchell was recalled Tuesday from Scranton. He is 1-1 with a 4.29 ERA in 13 appearances with the Yankees this season and 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 12 starts at Scranton.
Catcher Gary Sanchez was back in the starting lineup Tuesday after being benched Sunday and starting at designated htter Saturday. Sanchez leads the majors with 12 passed balls and is second among catchers with 10 errors. Girardi has stressed to the 24-year-old that he has to get better at blocking pitches or his playing time will be affected.
“I think he’s going to play well,” Girardi said. “I think he’s going to be fine. He’s been working.”
First baseman Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) and second baseman Starlin Castro (strained right hamstring) fielded ground balls Monday. Bird, who last played for the Yankees on May 1, said he expects to begin a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment in about a week.
“That would be great if we could do that,” Girardi said. “We like where he’s at, he’s moving very well.”
Girardi said outfielder Aaron Hicks (strained right oblique) could return as soon as this weekend’s home series against Boston. Hicks is currently rehabbing with Trenton.
Outfielder Matt Holliday, who went on the disabled list Sunday with a left lumbar strain, saw a doctor Tuesday. He is not travelling with the team.
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