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Yankees embrace inner troll, activate Frankie Montas

For the first time since the 2022 ALCS, last year’s Trade Deadline addition is healthy. Hooray!!

Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Many moons ago, Frankie Montas was supposed to be a difference-maker for the Yankees.

Fresh off a 2021 campaign that saw him receive down-ballot Cy Young votes, New York acquired Montas from Oakland at the 2022 Trade Deadline, only to see their right-hander smoked for a, well, Carlos Rodón-esque 6.35 ERA and .838 OPS against across eight starts. Then as he has so often throughout his career, he went to the IL with a shoulder injury that had been plaguing him even at the time the Yankees acquired him. Montas’ only postseason appearance came in relief during the ALCS sweep at Houston’s hands, and he allowed a homer anyway.

Still, the Yankees were hopeful that Montas could rebound in 2023. They had acquired him for a year and a half of team control, anyway. Shortly after pitchers and catchers reported in February 2023, though, the team announced that Montas would need arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and miss most of the season, forcing them to dig into the starting pitching depth that helped doom them to a playoff absence when Rodón, Nestor Cortes, Domingo Germán, and Luis Severino all went down with various maladies as well.

But don’t worry, folks! Montas has finally made it back for his 2023 debut! He did it!

Sure, it took until the Yankees’ penultimate game of 2023 for Montas to return, long since the team’s elimination, but here he is! He’ll be available out of the bullpen for their final two games in Kansas City.

If I’m being genuine, I am personally happy for Montas because shoulder rehab is no joke and it’s not his fault that he’s been so injury-prone throughout his career. He’s about to hit free agency and needed to prove that he could come out on the other end of the surgery. There’s even been some talk floated by YES Network’s Jack Curry that the Yankees might be seeking an incentive-laden reunion with Montas next year — likely one that would not make him quite as essential a member of the pitching staff, but a potential contributor regardless.

All that being said, this is all still funny in a gallows-humor kind of way. I can’t help myself from chuckling. Once again: Way to go on that Trade Deadline, Brian Cashman.

The move to activate Montas was ending Randy Vásquez’s rookie season, as it was essentially over anyway after throwing 70 pitches in relief of the dismal Rodón last night. Tommy John recoveree Jasson Domínguez was shifted to the 60-day IL as well to put Montas on the active roster.