TAMPA, Fla.— Gerrit Cole rebounded from a rough last outing by giving up just one run in 3 1/3 innings and striking out six on Tuesday in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
But the true pitching star for the Yankees was presumptive No. 4 starter Jordan Montgomery, who threw four perfect innings of relief with five strikeouts.
“He’s been good all spring, too,” manager Aaron Boone said of Montgomery, who lowered his ERA to 4.09. “Been really excited from the git-go with him. Bullpens, to the uptick in velocity . . . He did a lot of things really good. The curveball was good. The changeup was really good. You saw even a couple of the at-bats where he was behind in the count, just not real comfortable swings even on his fastball, and he finished off the outing with that cutter on his last strikeout. There’s a lot there to be excited about.”
As for Cole, he gave up four home runs against the Tigers in the last start. On Tuesday, throwing to Kyle Higashioka for the first time, Cole allowed a first-inning run and then settled in to lower his ERA to 7.00.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Cole said. “A little bit better every start. This was a good bounce-back from last start. We were able to take some positives from the last start . . . The mix is getting more true, more game-like.”
Higashioka, the front-runner for the backup catcher job, hit his third home run of the spring . . . Gleyber Torres made his fifth error at shortstop when he threw high to first on a routine second-inning grounder. “I’m really not worried about it,” Boone said . . . Giancarlo Stanton (calf) said he expects to start running outside on Wednesday or Thursday . . . Boone said James Paxton (back surgery) will play catch on Wednesday.