So Monty’s got that going for him.
Turns out when Pettitte’s not leading the recruiting pitch for free agents like Gerrit Cole, he’s firing off encouraging texts to Montgomery, as the lefty revealed Tuesday after his two-inning spring debut.
Monty will be an especially important piece for this team in 2021. After all, his dependability and low variance in the latter part of the rotation helped encourage the Yankees to take big swings atop it with Jameson Taillon and Corey Kluber.
He explained that both Pettitte and CC Sabathia, with whom he shared a locker room from 2017-19, both text regularly, and Pettitte’s notes have been extremely on-message ahead of this season.
Better than mine, eh? If Pettitte wants Montgomery to emphasize his heater, then that says a lot about the offering.
Pettitte’s always been forthcoming with his advice to younger pitchers; you may recall him helping Sabathia himself undergo a cutter-heavy makeover towards the back end of his distinguished career.
There’s no doubt the southpaw has a future instructing pitchers — and perhaps, someday, he’ll even be willing to work with a righty, too.
Of course, not everyone can just be Andy Pettitte. A 3.81 postseason ERA and 19 wins doesn’t just craft itself, and placing such expectations firmly on Montgomery’s shoulders isn’t quite fair to the 28-year-old, who’s still looking for a full-season follow-up to his excellent 2017 campaign.
Last year’s postseason brought about a very Pettitte-esque opportunity for Montgomery, though, who proceeded to strand men on base and help keep the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS until the bats awakened just enough to save the season temporarily.
If Montgomery continues to trust his fastball like Pettitte’s advised, the moderate-ceiling sky could be the limit. It’s a darn good pitch, after all.