NEW YORK (WFAN) — Yankees manager Joe Girardi has made it clear he won’t stick with a six-man rotation, but he said he hasn’t decided which starting pitcher will be the odd man out.
The Yankees acquired Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia in trades earlier this week. They join Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and rookie Jordan Montgomery in the rotation for now. Many in the media have speculated Montgomery will lose his spot, but Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Friday, “I think you’ve got to see what happens here.”
After being one of the most pleasant surprises on the Yankees this season, Montgomery has struggled in recent outings. In six July starts, he was 1-2 with a 5.90 ERA, raising his season ERA from 3.53 to 4.15.
“What we need him to do is get back to what he was doing, and that was throwing his curveball and changeups for strikes,” Girardi said. “And if he does that, he’s going to be fine.”
Girardi is hoping some of his hitters can snap out of their funks, too, most notably Aaron Judge, who is batting just .164 since the All-Star break.
“I think it’s mechanical, and we’re trying to get him back on track,” Girardi said. “And sometimes it can be different reasons that your mechanics get off. It could be your mindset — you’re trying to do too much. It could be your approach — you might be trying to pull too much. It could be fatigue. So it’s getting him back to where he’s using the whole field and hitting the ball really hard the other way. And if he does that, he’ll get back on track.”
• Second baseman Starlin Castro (hamstring), who has been out since July 22, isn’t close to returning yet, Girardi said. “He has not started to run yet. He’s starting to do a little tee and toss as the first step. And hopefully by the time we get home next week he’ll be taking BP on the field.”
• Outfielder Aaron Hicks (oblique) was preparing Friday to play in the third game of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “He is closer, obviously,” Girardi said. “But the tricky part with Hicks — and I’ve said it all along — is he needs at-bats from both sides because he’s a switch hitter.”
To listen to the full interview, in which Girardi also discusses his expectations for Gray and Garcia, click on the audio player above.