Mets sign pitchers Mike Montgomery and Tommy Hunter to minor-league deals

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Dennis Young, New York Daily News
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With Seth Lugo possibly out well into the spring after elbow surgery, the Mets could need arms. They added two on Sunday, bringing veteran pitchers Mike Montgomery and Tommy Hunter to spring training on minor league deals.

Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday.

Both could compete for a bullpen job with Lugo out, although Montgomery has extensive and recent experience starting. He made double-digit starts for the Royals and Cubs from 2017-19 before only pitching five innings for the Royals in 2020.

He’s best known for getting the final out of the 2016 World Series with the Cubs.

He appears to fit the mold of what acting general manager Zack Scott called the “never can have too much starting pitching” axiom. Montgomery could be a depth arm who can easily move from the bullpen or minors to the rotation if the Mets need him.

Hunter, a 13-year veteran, has been a reliable reliever for several teams since switching to that role full-time in 2013. Most recently, he appeared in 24 games — remember, out of 60 — with the Phillies as part of one of the worst bullpens in baseball history.

Hunter was serviceable, with a 4.01 ERA across 24.2 innings. With the exception of 2019, when he missed nearly the entire season with a torn tendon in his forearm, Hunter has been consistent, making 68, 60, 58, 39, 33, 61 and 65 appearances in his first six years as a reliever.

He has a career 4.08 ERA, although that’s inflated by his years as a starter; he’s pitched to a 3.24 ERA as a reliever over the last eight years. He’s a contender for a role in the Mets’ bullpen.