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Jordan Montgomery Wins The Job

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Jordan Montgomery (Getty Images)[/caption]

NEW YORK—At the beginning of spring training Larry Rothschild was asked if there was a sleeper among the pitchers in camp.

The veteran pitching coach mentioned Jordan Montgomery, a non-roster lefthander who recorded a 2.13 ERA in 25 starts at two levels last season to rank ninth in the minors.

And then the competition for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the big league rotation got underway without Montgomery’s name being included with righthanders Adam Warren, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Luis Severino and Bryan Mitchell.

With none of the five separating themselves, Montgomery pushed his name into the conversation on March 17 against the Tigers when he threw four scoreless relief innings and didn’t allow a hit or walk.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi added the 24-year-old Montgomery’s name to the mix six days later. The 2014 fourth-round pick out of South Carolina allowed two runs, three hits and struck out eight Rays batters.

Because the Yankees didn’t need a fifth starter until April 16, Severino made the team as the No. 4, while Montgomery and Green headed to the minors to continue battling.

Montgomery made one strong tune-up start at high Class A Tampa to win the job as No. 5 starter. He made his big league debut on April 12 against the Rays.

Asked what he took away from the 8-4 victory at Yankee Stadium in which he gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks, Montgomery was direct.

"That I belong here (because of) the seven strikeouts and the guys I did it against,” said Montgomery, who whiffed Evan Longoria and Kevin Kiermaier twice each.

The 6-foot-6 Montgomery doesn’t work in the high 90s, but he pitches at 92-94 mph, commands his four pitches and has deception. Once scout compared him with J.A. Happ.

YANKEE DOODLES

Righthander James Kaprielian will miss the 2017 season after having Tommy John surgery on April 18. He made just three starts at high Class A Tampa last season because of a flexor-tendon injury. The 2015 first-rounder worked two innings in big league camp before complaining of elbow soreness.

The Yankees sold righthanded reliever Johnny Barbato to the Pirates after designating him for assignment to make room for Montgomery on the 40-man roster.

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James Kaprielian Gets Back On The Mound For Oakland

Kaprielian's outing represented a step closer to getting his career back on track after the long layoff.

— George King covers the Yankees for the New York Post

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