Jordan Montgomery said he felt no pain or stiffness in his left knee when he threw his bullpen on Wednesday, so the Yankees lefthander is hoping to make his scheduled start on Friday in Baltimore.
“Feeling good, getting better every day,” Montgomery said ahead of Thursday night’s series finale against the Blue Jays at the stadium. “Pitching doesn’t feel like anything to me. So that’s a blessing.”
Montgomery injured the back of his left knee after losing to the Red Sox on Sunday night.
“It’s like a pitcher’s nightmare, but honestly, I’d love to be in my foot above the hips,” Montgomery said with a laugh.
“I was hit against the Astros last year, I was hit against the Pirates, and they should just call me a piata,” he continued. “I’ve done (like) Houston worse last year.”
Still, the knee was swollen and caused some stiffness, so the Yankees sent him for an MRI and CT scan.
“They just wanted to check everything and things like that. I think Charlie Morton got hit (in the playoffs last year) and then broke his leg. Yeah, just make sure that doesn’t happen,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery was hit in the first innings, but managed to stay in the game and complete 3.1 innings. He allowed three earned runs off four hits. He walked one and hit four.
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JP Sears’ girlfriend and parents have been waiting for nearly a week. The young lefty had kept him in New York since Opening Day, hoping he would be able to share the moment he made his major league debut.
On Wednesday night, Sears made it well worth the wait.
He went out and played a perfect innings to beat Blue Jays center fielder George Springer in his big league debut.
“It was the last night my girlfriend was able to come here before I left for work today, so it was great,” Sears said. “And then obviously it’s better to debut at Yankee Stadium.”
Sears was invited to big league spring training last season after a fairly impressive season between Double-A and Triple-A. Sears made a 3.46 ERA in 25 games, including 18 starts. In 104 innings, Sears scored 136 runs and scored just 29 runs.
“We kind of have been in these high leverage games every night where we just didn’t have a lot of chances to roll guys of our length. So then, it comes back that we’re game six into this. So last night he got a chance to come in,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “It was really cool to see him pitch as he did against a really good part of the lineup. He came up with a really efficient three-strike strategy, he trusted his stuff and I think everyone had a short Just got a glimpse of why we are excited about him.”
Sears, a Sumner, South Carolina native, grew up with Montgomery. His parents are friendly and have worked with the same pitching coach for years.
“It was awesome. I was ready to get him out. He’s biting into the bullpen to get in and especially the first strike is George Springer. It’s so exciting,” Montgomery said.
Yankees catching coach Tanner Swanson is no longer with the team this week after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. He is home-quarantined and according to MLB rules need to have two tests to come back negative or wait in isolation for 10 days before returning to the team.
A team source said Swanson was feeling well.
Last season the Yankees battled with the outbreak of COVID-19. He lost nearly two weeks into the first outbreak and several coaches to player Gleber Torres. After the All-Star break, Aaron Judge, Gio Ursella and Jonathan Loisiga were among the players who tested positive. In early August, there was another outbreak among players who were sidelined, with Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery and Anthony Rizzo.
The Bombers were among the first teams to administer 85% of the vaccine, which undermined MLB protocols for health and safety. They are believed to have less than a handful of players who have not been vaccinated.