TORONTO — The Yankees will shorten rookie Jordan Montgomery’s outings in the minors in an effort to keep him around a limit of 180 innings this season.
“It will help him in the long run,” said Joe Girardi, adding that 180 wasn’t an exact, set-in-stone number.
Montgomery’s career-high in innings is 152 last season — including playoffs. Teams have been known to increase a young pitcher’s innings by 30 each year early on in their career.
The team elected to keep the 24-year-old lefty in the rotation at Triple-A Scranton because it envisions him as a starter.
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Montgomery could rejoin the Yankees in September when the rosters expand. He is 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA over 21 starts and 115.2 innings.
“We’re very comfortable putting him back in there,” Girardi said.
Girardi said Montgomery was “disappointed” with the team’s decision to send him down.
The Yankees acquired both Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia at the trade deadline, creating a situation where there were six guys for five spots.
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They originally dealt for Garcia wanting to at least have him instead of Caleb Smith or Luis Cessa.
But then the Yankees added Gray as well, making it easier to pull back Montgomery a little bit.
After DHing on Saturday and being benched on Sunday, Gary Sanchez was back in the lineup on Tuesday at catcher. He did well behind the plate in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
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“I think he’s going to play well. I do. I think he’s going to do fine,” said Girardi, who went with Austin Romine behind the plate. “He’s been working. We’re trying to (get him where we want him to be), but again taking from there to here is completely different.”
Aaron Hicks (oblique) is “pretty close” to returning, and could rejoin the Yankees off the disabled list over the weekend against Boston, Joe Girardi said. The 27-year-old outfielder hasn’t been in the lineup since June 25.
Hicks has posted a .913 OPS and 10 homers in 73 games. His arrival could possibly mean the short-term demotion of Clint Frazier — with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury already locked in — for a couple weeks before the rosters expand.
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Hicks is continuing his minor-league rehab stint at Double-A Trenton this week due to the Thunder being in nearby Hartford. Triple-A Scranton is in Georgia on a roadtrip.Hicks went 1-for-4 with a double and two runs scored for the Thunder on Tuesday night.
Matt Holliday (back) saw the doctor on Tuesday back in New York, but Girardi didn’t have an update on his 37-year-old DH’s status.
Starlin Castro (hamstring) continues to progress as well, though Girardi didn’t have a date for the 27-year-old second baseman to begin a minor-league rehab stint. Castro had said he hoped to do some running over the weekend.
Bryan Mitchell was summoned from Triple-A Scranton to be the team’s long man. … Joe Girardi played for the late Don Baylor. “He was a wonderful man to be around,” Girardi said. “As tough as you’d want any player to be. It’s been tough for a lot of us.” … Ex-Yankee Rob Refsnyder started at second for Toronto on Tuesday night.
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