Perhaps a reason for Montas’s struggles was his irregular schedule of late. A right-hander, he returned July 21 after missing nearly three weeks with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He started again for Oakland on July 26, reaching 78 pitches, then was traded to New York. But then came the family death that delayed Montas’s arrival and affected his workload, which, according to Manager Aaron Boone, was still being built back up after the injury anyway.
While Montas was on the bereavement list, Sam Briend, the team’s director of pitching, flew to Arizona to meet with him and oversee his throwing, including a bullpen session, said Matt Blake, the team’s pitching coach.
“We didn’t want him to be out on his own for four or five days and then come and start, so Sam went, kind of got eyes on him, talked through what the expectations were, and gave us a download of what he does in his routine and everything,” Blake said.
Boone added: “We got about as good a week as you can considering the circumstances.”
Ahead of the trade deadline, the Yankees added the All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi, a left-handed contact hitter who helps further balance the lineup and weather the absence of Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles’ tendinitis) and the struggles of Aaron Hicks (.226 batting average); the right-handed reliever Scott Effross, who wracks up strikeouts throwing sidearm; Trivino; and Montas.
Montas, 29, fortifies a rotation that has dealt with some struggles (Domingo German has a 5.09 E.R.A. in four starts since his return from a shoulder injury) and that will be without Luis Severino (right latissimus dorsi strain) until mid-September.
But the Yankees also subtracted from their rotation, surprisingly sending the 29-year-old left-hander Jordan Montgomery — who was drafted by the Yankees in 2014, had been pitching solidly (3.69 E.R.A.) and was under team control next year — to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader, a 2021 Gold Glove-winning center fielder who is on the injured list until perhaps September. Although Bader was hitting .256 this season and has been out since late June with plantar fasciitis, he can help shore up the Yankees’ weakest defensive outfield position.