TORONTO — At long last, Dellin Betances will pitch for the Yankees in 2019.
The righthander, who has missed the entire season with a right shoulder impingement and then a significant lat strain, was scheduled to fly to Toronto on Saturday night. He will be available to Aaron Boone out of the bullpen Sunday.
Betances had his third and final rehab outing Friday night, allowing one run and two hits, including a home run, in an inning for Double-A Trenton.
His fastball sat pretty much in the range of 92 to 94 mph in each of his outings, according to scouts who watched them, and the Yankees probably would have preferred to continue building up his arm strength in the minors. But with the minor league season over (Trenton won the Eastern League championship), that process will continue in the majors.
“We’ll kind of manage him as far as try and be smart about his workload and building him up properly,” Boone said. “Getting him spots where he can be successful. Whether that falls right in to the back end [of the bullpen], we’ll see.”
Boone said he is not concerned with Betances’ fastball velocity, which is in the high 90s and occasionally touches 100 mph when he is at his best. Boone noted that in years past, Betances’ velocity typically hasn't peaked until late May or even early June.
“I am hoping it will tick up,” Boone said. “I don’t worry that much about it. I am more worried about making sure he’s staying in his delivery ... Hopefully we’ll start to see the fastball velocity tick up like it has most of his career. Usually he gets that bump up [after a little while], and hopefully we do in the next couple weeks.”
Welcome back, Monty
Jordan Montgomery hasn’t thrown a big-league pitch since he walked off the mound at Minute Maid Park on May 1, 2018, with an elbow injury that would require Tommy John surgery. That will change Sunday afternoon when the lefthander starts against the Blue Jays.
“Feels like I was 5 years old when it happened,” Montgomery, 26, said of that night in Houston. “Happened a long time ago. A lot of hard work got me back.”
Montgomery, on a pitch count in the range of 60, said his resume — 11-4 with a 3.84 ERA — in the majors has him confident in his ability to succeed right away.
“I’ve been doing it for two years,” he said. “I am not worried about not being able to get big leaguers out.”
Can Montgomery pitch well enough during the next few weeks to become an option for the postseason?
“I think with Jordan the biggest thing is the big picture,” Boone said. “Coming back from the nature of his injury, hopefully he can get in some outings here to where it’s a momentum builder going into the offseason. But I wouldn’t rule out the fact if he comes out and pitches really well and efficiently, he could push himself into that conversation.''
Stanton soon, too
Giancarlo Stanton (right knee sprain) played in a simulated game Saturday in Tampa and remains on target to rejoin the Yankees at some point during the upcoming week.
Said Boone, “I’ve texted with him and I think he really feels over the last couple of weeks that he’s starting to feel good about the progress that he’s making and kind of getting to that end game of being game-ready to play.”
DJ LeMahieu went 4-for-5, giving him an MLB-leading 58 multi-hit games … Boone said J.A. Happ (left biceps tendinitis), who received a cortisone shot in New York on Friday, likely will start Thursday against the Angels . . . In the last 34 games, Brett Gardner is hitting .252 — but of his 33 hits, he has 10 homers, two triples, 12 doubles and nine singles for an outstanding slugging percentage of .603. Before 2019, in his first 11 seasons, his slugging percentage was .390.