Montgomery Taking Command

Royals lefty still finding his groove

SURPRISE, Ariz.—Mike Montgomery went from among the final cuts of spring training 2010 to among the first players assigned to minor league camp in 2011.

Montgomery allowed five hits and one run, striking out seven in nine innings, including a dominant start against the Reds, in spring training last year. This March he was gone after two outings with a 20.25 ERA, including surrendering five runs on three hits and two walks while retiring only two batters against the Athletics.

Montgomery, a 2008 sandwich-round pick out of a California high school, did not build on his spring training success last year to Triple-A Omaha. He went 5-11, 5.32, giving up 157 hits, walking 69 and uncorking 14 wild pitches in 151 innings. He was the youngest pitcher in the league.

"You have one good outing in spring doesn't necessarily determine how your season is going to go," Montgomery said. "Once I got to Omaha it was basically like starting over. It was just a completely different atmosphere."

Montgomery, 22, was 2-6, 5.63 in his final 10 regular season appearances, losing his last four appearances.

"It wasn't disappointing," he said. "It was sometimes frustrating. I think I had to go through some of that to get better. I had to kind of set back and take it as experience that I can gain off of. Toward the end of the year I started to adjust and get better. I think I'm a lot better off for it."

Montgomery had only experienced success his first three minor league seasons, with a 15-10, 2.27 record and 220 strikeouts with 79 walks in 246 innings.


• Second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who got 178 at-bats in the majors last season, was optioned to Omaha late in spring training. Hit hit .338/.390/.481 there last season.

• Nate Adcock, a 2010 Rule 5 pick from the Pirates, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. Adcock went 1-1, 4.67 in 24 games, including three starts, in 2011 with Kansas City.