Yankees: Could Jordan Montgomery make the postseason roster?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 19: Jordan Montgomery #47 of the New York Yankees reacts as pitching coach Larry Rothschild #58 makes a trip to the mound during the second inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 19, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 19: Jordan Montgomery #47 of the New York Yankees reacts as pitching coach Larry Rothschild #58 makes a trip to the mound during the second inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 19, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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After Jordan Montgomery’s latest rehab outing at Double-A Trenton Wednesday night, it looks like he’ll be back in the big leagues very soon. What role he’ll play remains to be seen but he can certainly make an impact down the stretch and put his name in the mix for a spot on the Yankees postseason roster.

Montgomery started his rehab assignment last Friday when he threw 35 pitches over the course of 1.2 IP for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate at Scranton. This time around he threw 44 pitches over three innings for Trenton in the first round of the Eastern League Divison Series. 33 of his pitches were strikes and he struck out five but allowed two runs on four hits in what ended up being a 4-3 Thunder win.

According to reports, Montgomery’s fastball ranged from 92 to 94 mph and he featured a lot of good curveballs against a lefty-heavy Reading Fightin Phils’ lineup. That’s a very encouraging sign because when he returns to the Yankees pen from the IL he’ll probably be brought into games to face a lot of left-handed hitters.

It’s unclear right now where Montgomery will make his next appearance, but when he does take the mound again he’ll probably increase his workload to around 60 pitches or more. Regardless of his pitch count, he isn’t going to return to the big leagues as a starter this season but he could be a guy who gives the Yanks multiple innings out of the pen.

With CC Sabathia on the IL, Montgomery could be used as the first guy in relief after an opener just like Luis Cessa was Wednesday night in relief of Chad Green. Along with Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga, the Yankees can rotate all three guys in relief of an opener for the rest of the season instead of having to use an actual starter.

Luis Severino could also be used in that role because he’s still only made one rehab start where he threw 33 pitches. He probably won’t be stretched out enough to return as a starter before the postseason but he is scheduled to make another start on Friday for Trenton and throw around 50 pitches so we’ll have to wait and see how he progresses.

Looking ahead to the postseason the Yankees have 10 pitchers right now who are pretty much guaranteed to be on the 25-man roster. That includes Sevy and Dellin Betances (if they’re healthy) which would leave at least another two spots left to be filled depending on whether they decide to carry 12 or 13 pitchers.

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If Montgomery returns to the team sometime next week he’ll be in the mix along with Cessa, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia, Loaisiga and maybe Cory Gearrin. If Cessa can continue pitch as well he has of late (9 straight scoreless IP) he deserves to be on the roster and I think one of either CC or Happ will be there as well, but not both.

If the Yanks are going to carry 13 pitchers that leaves one more spot so whoever pitches the best down the stretch should get the nod. I might be getting ahead of myself because Montgomery hasn’t even returned from the IL yet, but as long as he’s healthy he’s going to be back very soon and have the opportunity to audition for a roster spot.

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After missing the entire season up to this point I’m sure that’s all Jordan could have hoped for so it will be interesting to see how he performs once he returns.