While it hasn't been as severe as it was last year, the Yankee farm system has dealt with its share of injury problems again this season. They added another body to the pile yesterday when, as first reported by Chad Jennings, Mark Montgomery was placed on the Triple-A disabled list. I haven't seen anything on what body part is the source of the move, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was something related to Montgomery's pitching arm.
Montgomery has been sluggish this season, nowhere near the level of dominance he showed in 2011 and 2012. His K rate is down to 26.7%, the first time he's been below 38% at any level, and he's walked 20 batters in 30 IP. After throwing up a 1.88/1.33 line in Double-A to end 2012, Montgomery currently sports a 3.00/4.20 line in 2013 and has only 1 clean appearance without a baserunner out of 18 this season. That appearance, if you wondering, was his first back on April 4th.
The smoking gun in trying to explain this regression could be Montgomery's diminished velocity. He's reportedly been sitting at 89-90 for most of the season and not the 91-93 he lived at for the last 2 years. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Montgomery's lost velocity and injury are both related to the heavy workload he took on last year. Montgomery pitched 64.1 innings at High-A and Double-A last season and then another 10+ in the AZFL. When he was announced as a selection for that league last year, I questioned the need for him to add more innings to his arm after only 28.1 in 2011 and now I can't help but ask that question again.
Because we don't know the nature of the injury yet, nothing can be said definitively. But the pieces all add up to somebody who's been overworked and whose performance and health has suffered because of it. I'd hate to see this become the first in a long line of health problems for Montgomery as a result of overwork. The Yankee bullpen is in great shape right now, but he was and still is a big part of their future plans after Mo.
** UPDATE 12:10 PM- Mark Newman on what's wrong with Montgomery: "Nothing really." That doesn't make me feel better. **
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