Royals' Montgomery Healthy After Summer Scare





KANSAS CITY—Mike Montgomery was having his third consecutive banner season when he felt discomfort in his left arm.

Montgomery first felt elbow discomfort in a May 27 start for Triple-A Omaha at Fresno, exiting after three innings. He did not pitch again until June 15 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, and left after 32⁄3 innings at Tulsa with his arm still feeling discomfort.

The Royals, who selected Montgomery as a 2008 supplemental first-round pick out of high school in Newhall, Calif., took the cautious approach, shutting him down, sending him to their Surprise, Ariz., complex for rest and rehab and limiting his pitch count when he returned at Northwest Arkansas in August.

"It was a forearm strain," Montgomery said. "It was frustrating at the time. It was such a minor issue, hanging around for a little while. I rested it. I went to Arizona and got back in shape. I really haven't had any problems (since). My arm felt just as good, if not better toward the end of the year after that injury than earlier in the year."

Montgomery, 21, was a member of USA Baseball's Pan American Games qualifying team, after which he reported to the Arizona Fall League to make up for the innings he missed in the summer.

Montgomery, a 6-foot-5, 180-pounder, has the stuff—including a fastball that reaches the mid-90s—to be a No. 1 starter in the majors.

"It's not just about the stuff," he said. "You've got to prepare and do a lot of little things that will make you better than the others pitchers out there with similar stuff or just as good stuff as you.

"I think for me, doing all the little things, studying, working with my mechanics and making sure I have the same mechanics every time, and really getting better with my mechanics, is what will help me get that to point."

ROYALTIES

• Lefthander Noel Arguelles, the 20-year-old signed out of Cuba in January, had shoulder surgery in September and won't be ready for the start of the 2011 season. Arguelles sat out 2010 with shoulder problems.

• The Royals acquired righthander Kevin Pucetas from the Giants as the player to be named for Jose Guillen. Pucetas, 25, went 5-7, 5.69 in 26 Triple-A starts last season. He was 47-20, 3.73 in five seasons in the Giants system.