Doug Fister. Jake Peavy. Tim Lincecum. Jeremy Guthrie. Mike Pelfrey.
In years past, you might have seen one of those guys on the mound for the Yankees against the White Sox on Monday night. A retread. The kind of veteran pitcher a wannabe contender signs at the end of spring training and gives a look-see in April.
But the Yankees aren’t supposed to be a contender, right? This is the rebuilding-year Yankees. Baby Bombers abound, at the plate and on the mound.
So pitching for the Yankees on Monday night was 24-year-old lefthander Jordan Montgomery, who was making his second big-league start.
Good for the Yankees. Very good for the Yankees.
Building on his impressive first start, Montgomery pitched into the seventh inning as the Yankees won their eighth in a row, 7-4, over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Montgomery threw six shutout innings before allowing a three-run home run to Yolmer Sanchez on his final pitch of the night. In six innings-plus, Montgomery allowed three runs and seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Kudos for Montgomery for his first big-league win.
“Hopefully, first of many,” he said.
And kudos to general manager Brian Cashman for resisting the urge — if he ever had one — to do anything other than let the Yankees’ youngsters battle it out for the fourth and fifth starters’ spots in spring training.
Cashman could have signed some “depth guys” to give the team cover when the young guns didn’t exactly light it up early on in Tampa. If he were tempted to add a veteran arm during spring training, Cashman never pulled the trigger.
Luis Severino won the fourth spot and has a 4.50 ERA in two starts. Montgomery came out of nowhere to win the fifth spot — a competition manager Joe Girardi noted he wasn’t even a part of when spring training opened.
“I was committed to finding and figuring it out with the people that we had in that clubhouse,” Girardi said. “It was weird. They all had a good first start. And then they all had rough second starts. Then someone had a good third and the next guy had a bad [one] and they flip-flopped it the next time. That’s kind of how Jordan really surfaced.”
Said Montgomery: “My thought process has always been throw so well where they have to move you up. Just control what I can control and everything else will take care of itself.”
For the record, the first four veteran pitchers listed above are free agents. Available right this minute to every team.
Guthrie made one start for the Nationals and gave up 10 runs in two-thirds of an inning before getting cut. Pelfrey is in the White Sox’s farm system after getting released by the Tigers.
The White Sox are a true rebuilding team, and it no doubt helped Montgomery to be facing a lineup that featured three established major-leaguers.
You know how they always say you can’t rebuild in New York? Just wondering why that isn’t true in Chicago, where the Cubs tore everything down for years before their historic World Series title. The White Sox, who would love to follow up their Chris Sale trade by unloading all of their other veterans, have the look of a team that’s going to be bad for a good, long time.
Anyway, we all know the Yankees refuse to use the word “rebuilding.” From Hal Steinbrenner to Cashman to Girardi to the ballboys down the baselines, the word is not to be spoken. Not at these prices.
But if the Yankees weren’t rebuilding, Jordan Montgomery might not have been on the mound Monday night. Jake Peavy or Mike Pelfrey might have been. To quote Girardi, “That’s not what you want.”