With Bombers About To Begin Run Of 13 Games In 13 Days, Rookie Could Return Late Next Week To Start Vs. Mets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees appear to have their rotation set for a challenging stretch of the schedule.

Following Sunday’s 8-1 win in Cleveland, New York optioned rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The Yankees had been carrying six starters, following the trade deadline acquisitions of veterans Jaime Garcia and Sonny Gray. Montgomery’s demotion allows for manager Joe Girardi to assess his more veteran-laden rotation, which also features Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, and Masahiro Tanaka.

Following Monday’s off day, the Yankees will play 13 straight days, starting with the opener of a three-game set in Toronto on Tuesday. They currently trail first-place Boston by three games in the AL East, but will meet the Red Sox for three games in the Bronx starting on Friday.

The Yankees will then play four games against the Mets, with the first two in the Bronx beginning Aug. 14. WFAN’s Sweeny Murti speculated that Montgomery could return to start against the Mets at Citi Field on Aug. 17, allowing burgeoning ace Severino to pitch the opener of a three-game set in Boston the following day.

Despite being just 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA, Montgomery has been a godsend for the Yankees, emerging from relative obscurity in spring training to become a reliable No. 5 starter. The 24-year-old southpaw delivered a huge performance on Saturday night in Cleveland, allowing just three hits over five innings in the Yankees’ 2-1 victory. The win ended New York’s four-game losing streak, part of a stretch of five defeats in six games that cost the Bombers first place in the division.

Garcia, who was acquired from Minnesota prior to the deadline, wasn’t great in his Yankees debut, allowing six runs — five earned — five hits and four walks over just 4 2/3 innings in a 7-2 loss in Cleveland on Friday. However, the 31-year-old lefty is thought to have the experience the Yankees will need down the stretch of a pennant race.

Believed by many to be the biggest deadline acquisition by any MLB team, Gray also lost in his first start for the Yankees. However, the 27-year-old right-hander pitched well, allowing just two earned runs over six innings in a 5-1 defeat to Cleveland on Thursday.