KEY POINTS

  • Montgomery is expected to be the favorite to get the Yankees last spot
  • Montgomery is coming off Tommy John surgery
  • James Paxton out for at least three months

The New York Yankees have a rotation spot available and a familiar name has cropped up as the favorite to get it. Jordan "Gumby" Montgomery is seen as a betting favorite to get the nod. The opening came about after James Paxton got sidelined after undergoing back surgery. He is expected to be out for at least three months.

According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman (via a tweet by Bryan Koch), the club's fifth starting rotation will undergo open competition. And while pundits pick the 24-year-old pitcher to get it, there are other names in the mix. Among those mentioned include Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King and Deivi Garcia, the New York Post reported.

Montgomery is no stranger to cracking the last spot of the Yankees rotation. He did the trick three years ago and left a good impression. However, he is coming off Tommy John surgery in 2018. That limited him to just six starts. Regardless, his past appears to be a reason why he is now the betting favorite heading into spring training.

“He has good stuff, he battles out there and attacks the strike zone,’’ an NL scout said. “Pre-surgery he and King had the best command. They throw a lot of strikes.’’

Aside from that impressive showing three years ago, he is the only one with plenty of starting experience compared to the four other candidates. With the Yankees depth for the coming season, critics feel that New York will not have much need for an opener compared to last year.

Also, Montgomery seems to have gotten the vote of confidence of Yankees manager Aaron Boone. He spoke highly of Gumby at the Yankees' minor league complex recently.

"I think he has proven himself at this level. For him to get back last year was big, just for his frame of mind," Boone said. "The fact he was able to make it back and get some work done, get into some games, I think was big for him and his mindset moving forward."

Despite getting the favorite tag, Montgomery is trying to stay focused. He plans to treat it in the same way he did back in 2017 and show New York that he deserves the spot.

"I just want to pitch and be healthy. Whatever the Yankees need, I’ll bring something to the table. I had a normal offseason, finally. Good to get home and just work out and throw. I feel pretty strong right now. It’s good to have a new arm," he said.

Aaron Judge Gary Sanchez Yankees Gary Sanchez #24 and Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees celebrate after Sanchez hit a three-run home run as teammate Giancarlo Stanton #27 watches during the seventh inning of Game Two of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images