The reason for Montas’ struggles may have been his irregular schedule of late. The right-hander returned July 21 after missing three weeks with swelling in his throwing shoulder. He started again for Oakland on July 26, hitting 78 pitches, then was traded to New York. But then came a family death that delayed Montas’ arrival and affected his workload, which, according to manager Aaron Boone, is still rebuilding after the injury.
While Montas was on the bereavement list, the team’s pitching director Sam Brand flew to Arizona to meet with him and watch him pitch, including a bullpen session, the team’s pitching coach Matt Blake said.
“We didn’t want him to go out on his own for four or five days and then start over, so Sam went and looked at his eyes and told us what to expect and let us know what happened. He works through the routine and everything,” Blake said.
“We’ve had about a week, as you can imagine considering the circumstances,” added Boone.
Before the trade deadline, the Yankees added an All-Star outfielder. Andrew Benintendi, a left-hander who will help balance the hitting lineup and the absence of Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendinitis) and the struggles of Aaron Hicks (.226 batting average); right-handed reliever Scott Efros, who includes a sidearm throw; Trevino; And Montas.
The 29-year-old Montas bolsters a rotation with some struggles (Domingo German has a 5.09 ERA in four starts since returning from a shoulder injury) and Luis Severino (right latissimus dorsi strain) is out until mid-September.
But the Yankees also cut from their rotation, surprisingly trading 29-year-old left-hander Jordan Montgomery — who was drafted by the Yankees in 2014, swung hard (3.69 ERA) and was under team control the following year — to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader, the 2021 Gold Glove-winning center fielder, through September. It is in the affected list. Bader is hitting .256 this season and despite being sidelined since late June with plantar fasciitis, he could help shore up the Yankees’ poor defense in the field.