MILWAUKEE — Did the Yankees trade for damaged goods when they obtained Frankie Montas?
They insist they did not.
But the righthander, acquired from Oakland along with reliever Lou Trevino for a handful of high-level prospects at the Aug. 2 trade deadline, experienced a right shoulder issue earlier in the season that scared some other interested teams away.
The Yankees, convinced Montas was healthy, pulled the trigger. But after yet another underwhelming performance Friday night against the Brewers, he left the clubhouse late Saturday afternoon in street clothes and headed for an MRI on the shoulder (he was back in the dugout for Saturday night’s game).
“Obviously, we knew he was coming off an injury that only cost him 17 days,” Aaron Boone said before Saturday night’s game. “But yeah, everything would have suggested that he was healthy.”
Though his performance wasn’t at the quality level it was with Oakland, Montas didn’t raise any red flags in his first seven outings as a Yankee. But his velocity dipped noticeably Friday during an outing in which he allowed four runs, four hits and four walks in 3 1⁄3 innings. He mentioned something to the Yankees after the outing and an MRI was scheduled.
“I think it might have had something to do with last night,” Boone said when asked if he believes the shoulder issue is something Montas has dealt with for an extended period with the Yankees. “But as far as I know, he’s been good and healthy. And even last night, according to him, it was fairly minor. But we’ll see.”
Montas doesn’t believe the shoulder is as bad as it was earlier this season. “Today when I woke up, I thought it was going to be worse,’’ he said, “but it was just normal soreness from pitching. That’s why I feel like it’s nothing crazy.”
Boone’s level of concern?
“At least a little bit concerned,” he said earlier Saturday. “It seems to be, symptom-wise, less than what he was dealing with in Oakland a couple of months ago. But we’ll obviously know more when we get this [MRI results] back.”
Montas, who had not gotten the MRI results back Saturday night, said he’ll “probably” be able to make his next start. Even if the MRI comes back clean, though, the Yankees are likely to push him back.
Montas has a 6.35 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 39 2⁄3 innings with the Yankees.
One of the odder injuries you’ll ever see occurred in the third inning Saturday night.
Marwin Gonzalez, who left Friday night’s game because of illness — with dizziness being one of the symptoms — led off and took a called strike. Catcher Victor Caratini, from his knees, wound up and fired back to Brandon Woodruff, but his throw caught Gonzalez squarely on the left side of his batting helmet, knocking it completely off his head. After several minutes of being checked by Boone and a trainer, a dazed Gonzalez was replaced at the plate by Aaron Hicks, who struck out. Oswaldo Cabrera replaced Gonzalez at first base, only the second time he has ever played the position.
Gonzalez and Caratini are friends, and Gonzalez said of tapping Caratini on the chest afterward: “Just to tell him I knew that it wasn’t on purpose. He tried to talk to me the whole time; I didn’t talk back to him because I didn’t know what was going on. He asked me several times, ‘How are you feeling? How are you feeling? How are you feeling?’ I wasn’t able to answer him, so that’s why I pounded him on the chest. I kind of blacked out for a second.”
Gonzalez added, “I think he was distracted when he hit me because he was talking to me at the moment that it happened. When he was throwing the ball back, he was trying to talk to me and I think that’s how it happened. He was distracted.”
Jackson Frazier, known as Clint before undergoing a name change earlier this summer and once considered a can’t-miss prospect, continues to struggle in his professional career.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times last week, Frazier, 28, still was sore over the Cubs’ decision to designate him for assignment on June 10 with Chicago about to start a series against the Yankees at the Stadium, calling the timing “cold.”
“We had a day off the day before, and to DFA me in the locker room, and then do it over the phone as well, it was not the easiest,’’ Frazier said, according to the Sun-Times.
Frazier, who hit .216 with no homers and a .653 OPS in 19 games with the Cubs and who seemingly hasn’t let go of his bitterness toward the Yankees, has been awful with Triple-A Iowa. Entering Saturday, Frazier — who was picked fifth overall in the 2013 draft and was the centerpiece of the Yankees’ 2016 deadline deal that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland — was hitting .194 with six homers and a .598 OPS in 63 games.
“With that guy,” one Yankee said, “it was always someone else’s fault.”
Long Island’s Stephen Ridings, who was born in Huntington and went to St. Anthony’s High School and who at 6-8 is the tallest player in the Yankees’ system, began a rehab assignment with Double-A Somerset on Saturday. He allowed a hit and struck out two in a scoreless inning. Ridings had been sidelined since spring training with a right shoulder impingement.
A perfect 10?
Boone was ejected for an MLB-leading eighth time Friday night, tossed by plate umpire Edwin Moscoso after the top of the ninth inning. With the score tied and a man on third, he objected to a called third strike on Miguel Andujar for the second out (the pitch appeared to be well outside). Boone, ejected five times in his 12 years as a player in the big leagues, has been thrown out 25 times as Yankees manager.
Boone shared the American League lead in ejections in 2021 with the A’s Bob Melvin, now the Padres' manager, with both managers getting run six times. The last AL manager to get thrown out 10 times in a season was Jerry Manuel of the White Sox in 2003. The last manager to reach that plateau in either league was Atlanta’s Bobby Cox — MLB’s all-time leader in ejections with 162 — who was tossed 10 times in 2007.
The most times Billy Martin, thrown out 48 times in his managerial career, was ejected in one season was six in 1982, when he managed the A’s. Earl Weaver, tossed 96 times in his career, reached 10 once (1975), nine twice (1976 and 1979) and eight twice (1973 and 1974).