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Jordan Montgomery’s Yankees role up in the air for first round

Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka will start the first two games of the best-of-three postseason series that will be played Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Aaron Boone has J.A. Happ and Deivi Garcia to consider starting for a deciding third game.

So, where does that leave Jordan Montgomery for the first round?

Boone said Wednesday that if the Yankees advance to the ALDS, Montgomery would be in the starting rotation. But the manager didn’t say whether Montgomery would or wouldn’t be in the Yankees’ bullpen for the first round.

“That’s possible. Again, we will discuss that. Monty goes [Thursday] and we will discuss what we want to do on the weekend,” Boone said before the Yankees were routed by the Blue Jays, 14-1, at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. “There could be that role for him. He is obviously going to start at some point, but everything is on the table.”

Montgomery was on the 2017 postseason roster and available to relieve, but he didn’t get into games against the Indians and Astros. Of his 73 big league games, Montgomery has started 69 of them.

Montgomery’s season has been up and down. He takes a 2-2 record and a hefty 5.12 ERA into Thursday night’s game, which will be his 10th start of the season.

Montgomery isn’t the type to cause a stir, and he didn’t Wednesday when asked about the possibility of working out of the bullpen.

“I am here to help the team, so whatever I got to do to get outs for them, I will do,” Montgomery said of possibly working in relief. “I definitely probably throw harder out of the pen, so I think I would be pretty good out of the pen, but I can get outs as a starter also. Whatever they want me to do, really not up to me.’’

The Yankees are very protective of their relievers. Chad Green was the only one to work three days in a row this year. And without built-in off days, the bullpens are going to get plenty of postseason work.

“If we go on a deep run in the playoffs, guys are going to have to pitch multiple days,” Boone said. “But it is also imperative that whoever ends up holding the [World Series] trophy at the end, my vision of it is that you are going to have to lean on 10, 12, 13 pitchers more so than ever before. You are not going to be riding two starters twice a series and four main, high-impact relievers. You are going to have to, in given games, lean on the 12th, 13th man on a pitching staff to get important outs for you. I think that will be imperative for the team that wins it all.”

Montgomery could be useful in the pen during the first round because of his ability to get a strikeout (39 in 38 ²/₃ innings), but that could depend how many pitchers Boone carries.

As for this season, which followed a 2019 during which Montgomery pitched in two games (four innings) late in the year after coming off Tommy John surgery, the 27-year-old lefty pointed out what he could have done better at and what he was satisfied with.

“Definitely the ERA is too high for my liking,” Montgomery said of his 5.12 ERA. “But soft contact, strikeout percentage, walk percentage, I am pretty happy about how I am getting outs. A couple of games the pitch count has gotten high, but I have induced a lot of soft contact and had guys on their toes a little bit. Keep trying to get better.”

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