Montgomery Takes A Step Back

Heralded lefty demoted to Double-A





KANSAS CITY—Mike Montgomery was projected to be in the Royals' rotation by 2012, if not before.

Instead of pitching in Kansas City, Montgomery is going in reverse, sent in mid-July from Triple-A Omaha down to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Montgomery, a 2008 supplemental first-round draft pick, struggled in 2011 with a 5-11, 5.32 record, while allowing more than 13 hits and walks per nine innings with Omaha. After allowing seven home runs in his first three minor league seasons, he gave up 15 in 2011.

Montgomery again struggled the first half of this season with the Storm Chasers, going 3-6, 5.69 in 17 starts, allowing 110 hits and walking 43 in 92 innings. In his final three starts, he allowed 24 runs (16 earned) on 28 hits in 121⁄3 innings. He was 1-6, 6.71 in his final 10 Storm Chasers starts before the demotion.

"Mike's not the first guy to have to take that step back," said Mike Arbuckle, Royals senior advisor to the general manager in scouting and player development. "I've seen a lot of kids that have to take a step back to take two forward. I think that's kind of where he's at. I still think he's going to be a good big league pitcher."

Montgomery throws 95 mph and has a plus changeup.

Montgomery has been ranked as the Royals' top prospect in two of the past three years, including 2012. His confidence, however, waned in the Pacific Coast League.

"I think it's got to be confidence partially," Arbuckle said. "Anytime when you're not pitching well over a period of time, any young player will tend to lose some confidence, so that probably enters in."

Montgomery went 1-1, 5.84 in his first two Northwest Arkansas starts, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and six walks over 121⁄3 innings.

ROYALTIES

• Yordano Ventura was promoted from high Class A Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas after starting for the World team in the Futures Game at Kansas City.

• Lefthander Austin Fairchild, the Royals' 16th-round pick from Houston's St. Thomas High, signed for $350,000, $250,000 over the pick value. Fairchild had a baseball scholarship to Texas Christian.