The Yankees announced that righthander Frankie Montas was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactively to September 17 due to an inflammation of the right shoulder. In a corresponding move, outfielder Harrison Bader was reinstated from the injured list, a move previously reported.
Montas, 29, was acquired from the A’s just before the trading deadline in early August. He suffered from a shoulder infection in July and ended up missing for just over two weeks. He was given a cortisone shot and returned to make two more starts for the A’s before the deadline. The Yankees were clearly not happy enough with the results to go ahead and pull the trigger.
Unfortunately, the move to the Bronx has not gone smoothly for Montas so far. Although he had a 3.18 ERA at the time of the trade, he has registered a 6.35 mark since drawing the pinstripes. His 25.8% strikeout rate at Oakland has been replaced by a 17.8% score at the Yankees. It’s possible that the shoulder problem is a factor in all of this, as his fastball speed dropped in July, rebounded in August, before dropping again here in September. Montas tells Marly Rivera of ESPN that the current problem is similar to what he experienced last time and that he received another shot of cortisone. Manager Aaron Boone spoke to the media (video from Rivera) and said Montas will not be allowed to throw for about 10 days and can still begin the starter’s work in what is left of the season.
The last time Montas walked this path, he pitched on July 21, his first start since July 3. In that return start, he threw 53 pitches over three scoreless innings. He followed that with 78 pitches over five innings on July 26, then was traded for his next start. With just over two weeks left on the schedule, that leaves a tight window for Montas to return, assuming he can even follow a similar schedule this time around.
For the Yankees, this will put a dent in their rotational depth for the rest of the season and possibly into the postseason, depending on how Montas heals. Despite a tough second half, they still hold a 5.5 game lead over the Blue Jays in the AL East and are well positioned to earn a bye after the first round of the playoffs. That would give them more time to rebuild Montas, assuming they can keep it up for the next few weeks. In the short term, the Yankees are expected to Luis Severino back from his own IL stint tomorrow, per MLB.com, as Boone says so Domingo Germany will participate in the rotation again on Saturday, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Those two will fit side by side in the rotation Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Jameson Taillon. In the long run, although Montas was taken over in hopes of making a significant contribution for the Yanks in the playoffs, it is now uncertain how much role he will play there.