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Breaking down Jordan Montgomery’s return to the Yankees

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The important thing is Jordan Montgomery is back, though he didn’t necessarily dazzle in his season debut.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Montgomery has been out for the entirety of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. After several months of rehab, Montgomery took the mound for the first time in 2019 yesterday as he pitched two innings in relief of the opener Chad Green. In those two innings, Montgomery gave up three earned runs on four hits.

Montgomery hadn’t pitched since May 1 of 2018, so it’s perfectly normal for him to be a little rusty. In a breakdown of his pitch arsenal yesterday, let’s take a look at where his velocity and effectiveness was in his debut. To begin, for the first time in his career, Montgomery introduced a two-seam fastball. He used this pitch 39% of the time, far more than any other pitch. The two-seamer sat at around 92 mph for the day—not much faster or slower than his four-seam fastball, which he only threw three times today.

Montgomery’s big pitch is his curveball. In 2017, it was used as his put-away pitch 28.3% of the time and boasted a 42.9 K% when throwing it. Against the Blue Jays, he used the curveball the second-most out of all his pitches. It wasn’t as sharp as we’re used to seeing, which is to be expected. Out of the 12 curveballs he threw, only four of them were strikes. Getting over the top of his curveball will help with the sharpness of the movement and that will come soon, he just needs time to adjust and get back in the rhythm of things.

His changeup was very effective. He threw it ten times, and six times for a strike. Take a look at this 3D pitch visualizer from Baseballsavant.com that shows all his pitches thrown for strikes yesterday. The green changeup is in green.

As you can see, he kept the changeup to the outside of the plate. All those strikes were thrown while facing right-handed batters. Five of the pitches were swings and misses and the sixth was fouled off, so there was almost no contact made on his changeup today.

All in all, Montgomery got hit pretty hard, giving up a single, two doubles and a home run. It was the second inning when he allowed a single and two doubles as the Blue Jays took at 2-1 lead. Richard Urena’s double left the bat at 99.4 mph which drove in Billy McKinney. The next inning Randal Grichuk homered as his ball left the bat at 100 mph.

That would be Montgomery’s last inning as he handed the ball off to Dellin Betances who also made his season debut. Montgomery will most likely make several more appearances for the Yankees before the postseason comes around. Whether he makes the roster has yet to be determined as there are a lot of pitching considerations to be made over the next few weeks.