NEW YORK — The Yankees will try to get Frankie Montas back for the playoffs. The right-hander said that he is dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder, the same issue that had him sidelined in July. Montas had a cortisone shot on Monday and will be shut down from throwing for at least at least 10 days. Then he will have to go through a gradual ramp up. After Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees have 15 days left in the regular season.
“I mean, I still want to go back and try and help the team in the playoffs,” Montas said before Tuesday night’s game. “You know, whenever I can.”
Nestor Cortes Jr., who took the ball Tuesday night in the series opener against the Pirates, has been their most consistent starter this season, but beyond that, the Yankees have some questions in their rotation as they head into the playoffs. Gerrit Cole has shown a tendency to give up home runs, Jameson Taillon has struggled to put hitters away. Luis Severino is coming back feeling healthy, but having not faced a major league lineup since July 13.
And now there is no guarantee that Montas will be back in time.
“It’s certainly possible,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said about Montas’ return. “But we’ll just see how the recovery goes over the next week or 10 days. And then we’ll see where we are from a calendar standpoint, how many pitches we can get him up to, those types of things.”
For now, Domingo German, who has been solid since coming off the injured list in mid-July, will slot back into the rotation in Montas’ spot.
Montas was sidelined for more than two weeks in July with shoulder inflammation with the A’s and said this issue feels the same. He was sent for an MRI after he said he felt something during Monday night’s start in Milwaukee. He met with team doctors that same night. Montas said he also had a cortisone shot to address the injury back in July.
“I probably rushed it,” Montas said of coming back and making two starts with Oakland before the Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline.
The Yankees got him with the idea that he would be the No. 2 starter in a playoff series behind Gerrit Cole. He made just two starts after his initial IL stint in Oakland. The Yankees had a scout at both of those starts to look for signs of the injury.
Since coming to the Yankees, Montas has been less than impressive. With the playoff rotation in mind, the Yankees picked up the righty at the trade deadline specifically because of his track record against the Astros and Rays. So far, he is 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts with the Yankees.
At the same time, the Yankees will get a boost to their rotation if Severino can pick up where he left off after missing two months.
After missing most of the last three seasons with injuries, Severino had pitched to a 3.45 ERA and a 5-3 record, before suffering what he said was a mild lat strain in mid-July.
On Aug. 2, Severino was placed on the 60-day IL against his wishes. He was adamant that the lat strain could have been handled in the usual 15 days. He said repeatedly he was unhappy with the Yankees putting him on the 60-day IL.
But he realizes that he is coming back at a good time. He will have three starts to build up before the playoffs and stretch out.
“I mean, I was resting for 60 days, so yes, of course I’m fresh now,” Severino said of the unwanted time off. “Right now is the best time for me to come back. Montas is gonna, I don’t know if he is going to be out for a long time or a short time, but he was a big piece to us and me coming back, I think it’s going to be very good.”