Frankie Montas’ postseason status still in question with 10 days left in regular season

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			Frankie Montas’ postseason status still in question with 10 days left in regular season
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The Yankees traded away a significant portion of their pitching depth to Oakland to get Frankie Montas last month. The right-hander was expected to be their No. 2 starter in the postseason, but now he is unlikely to be available for at least the first round of the playoffs, manager Aaron Boone admitted.

“Well, I mean, it’s probably getting to a point where it’s going to be tough, as like a starting, built-up option,” Boone said before Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. “Especially if [it’s] a few more days and we’re at 14 days [without throwing] and then you start building that back. So that might be a challenge, but I do think there’s a chance that he can have a role and impact us. It’s just a matter of how the next couple of weeks go.”

Montas said Sunday the shoulder inflammation that put him on the injured list on Sept. 20 is feeling better, but there is no scheduled date for him to start throwing again. There are 10 days left in the regular season.

Since coming to the Yankees, Montas has been less than impressive. So far, he has a 6.35 ERA in eight starts with the Bombers.

The Yankees dealt minor league pitching prospects Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk along with J.P. Sears, who had already contributed to the big league club, for Montas and reliever Lou Trivino (who coincidentally is the only one of the Yankees’ deadline acquisitions who has not been injured). The idea was that Montas had success against the Rays, who have given the Yankees problems in the regular season and the playoffs and the Astros, who have beaten the Bombers in the American League Championship Series two times in the last six years. Montas has a 2.23 ERA against the Rays in eight career starts and a 3.40 against the Astros in 15 starts.

LEMAHIEU LIMPING TO THE END

DJ LeMahieu thinks he may be able to come off the injured list at the end of the upcoming three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto. The infielder has been out with right big/second toe inflammation, an issue that has been plaguing him since the first half of the season.

But first, LeMahieu and the Yankees have to believe he can get good swings off — and then he has to prove he can do it in games to be a viable option for the playoffs.

“I mean, it’s got to a point where he feels like this is something that we need to try and worthwhile to find out,” Boone said. “And then and then we’ll kind of make those evaluations as he gets out there.”

LeMahieu had a cortisone shot in July and it helped for a few weeks. He and the team tried orthotics in his cleats and they are discussing shots that could help him manage the pain to play through it.

BOUNCE BACK BRITTON

Zack Britton bounced back after pitching in a big league game for the first time in over a year. The lefty reliever had a tough 2022 debut, but the Yankees were only worried about how his surgically reconstructed left elbow felt after the outing Saturday.

“The elbow feels really good,” Boone said. “You know, he had sore legs and stuff like that. But that was a good test for him getting out in that environment, throw your 19 pitches and his stuff took an uptick from what he’s been doing the last month. So to feel good from an elbow standpoint, I think today was good. It was good to see and we’ll just continue to see how he continues to bounce back.”

Britton walked Rafael Devers, gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts and struck out Alex Verdugo. He then walked Kike Hernandez and Triston Casas to bring in a run.

Britton, whose sinker velocity ticked up to 94.7 miles per hour Saturday, has extensive closing experience. The veteran has 154 career saves and had a 1.89 ERA in 2020, his last full season. He is in the final year of a $53 million, four-year contract with the Yankees.

Right now, the Yankees are closing by committee.

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