DUNEDIN, Fla. – After Jordan Montgomery pitched five no-hitters in his Grapefruit League start against Toronto, the left-hander looked almost ready to start the season.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Montgomery said of his 66-pitch outing in the 1-0 victory at TD Ballpark. “That was his lineup. They have a lot of good hitters up and down and I felt pretty in control throughout the outing. I felt comfortable throwing everything away.
That’s the key for the left-hander, who said only this spring has he fully weathered the effects of 2018’s Tommy John surgery.
He has refined his mechanics and has “a little more faith in my arm so I can get through it. I’m not getting uptight. There comes a point where you go back to normal and you just take your throw and throw the ball. I think I’m starting to go back there. “
Montgomery walked one and hit a batter, while striking out four.
“I think the point with [Montgomery] goes back to last year and this [spring] It’s a better, more powerful fastball, ” Aaron Boone said before the game. “It’s a tick-up now from a veil point of view. Its double stitching [fastball] it’s still very much at stake. “
And if you can continue to refine your use of your fastball, the better your curveball and change will work.
“This is how I want to pitch,” Montgomery said. “I hold myself to high expectations.”
After being scraped from Tuesday’s game with a sore side, Kyle Higashioka was feeling better Wednesday, Boone said. The receiver is scheduled to return to the lineup on Saturday night. “We’ll see where we are in the next few days,” Boone said.
Higashioka did not do any baseball activities on Tuesday, but was able to work out in the gym, as well as receive treatment.
Miguel Andujar, with a muscle strain in his right hand, is “better” but hasn’t hit again, according to Boone.
“I know there was some improvement from the point of view of symptoms [Wednesday]Boone said. “He is still receiving treatment. I was getting ground balls [Tuesday] and the needle moves, but nothing imminent in terms of playing. ”
DJ LeMahieu started at third base and caught a line from Teoscar Hernández at second, but made a pitching error on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. grournder later in the inning that Jay Bruce failed to serve in first.
Estevan Florial has played just two games this spring after being held up in camp due to visa issues, and Boone said the organization still has high hopes for the 23-year-old.
“He needs to play,” Boone said of Florial, who has dealt with a host of injuries and other setbacks.
And a year ago, he was among those prospects who were hurt by the lack of a minor league season.
“We still have a lot of confidence in what he can be and what his ceiling is,” Boone said. “It’s about getting consistent reps and taking the next step like the prospect you’ve been for the next step as a player.”