Montgomery finishes no-no, will get audition as starter

Montgomery finishes no-no, will get audition as starter

LAKELAND, Fla. -- There was no over-the-top celebration after Jordan Montgomery recorded the final outs of a combined Grapefruit League no-hitter on Friday afternoon, but the real reward may still be yet to come.

The left-hander has piqued the Yankees' curiosity, with his stint in camp lasting longer than anticipated. Manager Joe Girardi said the organization now plans to give Montgomery a start following his excellent four innings in a 3-0 victory over the Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

"It makes me feel that I'm here for a reason and that they want me here," Montgomery said. "I'm just going to keep trying to get better and keep working hard and keep carrying myself the right way."

A fourth-round selection by the Yankees in the 2014 Draft out of the University of South Carolina, the 24-year-old went 14-5 with a 2.13 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, going 5-1 with an 0.97 ERA in six International League outings.

Over 10 1/3 spring innings, Montgomery has permitted four earned runs (3.48 ERA) on seven hits, walking two and striking out five. He said that Friday "definitely" marked his best outing, and that he is settling in.

"We like him a lot. We've said that all along," Girardi said. "I thought he had a good breaking ball today. Used some changeups today. He's got really good downward angle, which we like. He's different from a lot of lefties."

Girardi on combined no-hitter

Long-term, the Yankees view Montgomery as a starter, though Girardi said that he would be open to considering Montgomery to provide distance out of the bullpen. Montgomery said that while he has been a starter his whole life, the goal is to get to the Major Leagues any way possible.

"It's all just getting outs, whether it's the first inning or the seventh or the fourth," Montgomery said. "I'm just going to try and throw strikes and get outs. It doesn't matter to me."

Then again, it is possible that a strong start next week could vault Montgomery into consideration for a rotation spot, where Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino and Adam Warren have been vying to occupy the final two slots.

"You keep evaluating him. He's looked really good," Girardi said. "We want to see what he does when he starts, too. We're really curious about him."

With Masahiro Tanaka firing the first 4 1/3 innings and Chasen Shreve getting two outs in the fifth, it became Montgomery's game the rest of the way. The final out came on Andrew Romine's soft liner to third baseman Ruben Tejada.

Montgomery said that even in a Spring Training dugout, the usual no-hitter jinx rules apply.

"Oh no, you don't talk about that," Montgomery said. "I didn't really think about it until that last inning, but I kind of locked it in. I was pretty focused out there today."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.