Montgomery Hoping For Strong Finish

MOOSIC, PA – From a numbers standpoint, Mark Montgomery has had a pretty solid first season in Triple-A. But numbers can be deceiving, and that's been the case with Montgomery, who was dominant in his first two seasons of professional baseball.

Two trips to the disabled list have hindered Montgomery's performance with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Now healthy, Montgomery is looking to get back to his usually self and finish the season on a positive note.

"[I'm feeling] pretty good, you know, getting back into things," he said prior to Saturday's game. "The first couple outings here have gone pretty well, and my arm feels better than when I left. Overall, everything feels good right now."

Montgomery, 22, has appeared in 25 games with the RailRiders this season. In 40 innings pitched he's 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 49 strikeouts. He's given up 15 earned runs, 25 walks and four home runs.

In his first two professional seasons Montgomery threw a combined 92.2 innings and went 7-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 150 strikeouts. He gave up 17 earned runs, walked 35 batters and only surrendered one home run.

Montgomery admits that there is a noticeable difference at the Triple-A level, but the blame ultimately falls on him.

"I don't think I got my arm in shape as good as I could have," he said. "When I first started off here, I started really well and pitching like was capable of. Then, I think I kind of got a little tired, and that showed.

"I learned that up here you have to really work on counts and stay ahead of hitters," he continued. "I got in a stretch where I was walking a lot of guys and falling behind a lot of counts, which wasn't helping."

In-game struggles and diminishing fastball velocity called for action to take place. On June 8, Montgomery made his first trip to the disabled list. He was activated one week later and pitched in two games. But on June 21, Montgomery was sent back to the disabled list where he stayed until July 27.

"I think it was more just rest and kind of taking a little bit of time off," he said of his needed time on the disabled list. "It was just more or less a little fatigue and taking care of that. I went down to Tampa, took about ten days off – no throwing – and then started the throwing program back up. It was beneficial to help me get the arm back in shape."

In past years, Montgomery's fastball has usually hovered around the 92-93 mph range. This year, however, he's been around the 89-90 mph area, something that has drawn scouts' attention. To some it might be concerning, but Montgomery remains confident that it really isn't an issue.

"I've always been a low 90's guy, and I've definitely showed that here before I left," he said. "I still don't think (the velocity) is too big of an issue – it's been close to where it's been. But, yeah, I wasn't as high as I've been at times. Hopefully, that will come back."

Although he hasn't caught him in many games this year, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher J.R. Murphy knows what he can expect whenever Montgomery gets the call from the bullpen.

"It's the same old Monty," Murphy said. "He's gonna throw strikes, and he's gonna get strikeouts with the slider. The sooner we can get to that slider with strike one, the better.

"Velocity-wise, it's a long year, and guys are going to have dead periods with their arms because the season is so long," he added. "But I'm sure if the velocity is down, it'll be back up shortly."

Montgomery is known around baseball for having one of the best sliders among rising prospects. He believes he's thrown it really well at times this season and has gotten a lot of swing and misses. There have been other times, he admits, where he's fallen behind hitters and hasn't been able to use it how he'd like to.

But his teammates know just how good Montgomery's slider is and that it gives them more confidence knowing that it will more than likely benefit the team.

"When he throws his slider, it never does the same thing," Murphy said. "If I don't know what it's gonna do when I'm catching, I don't know how a hitter would know what it's gonna do."

With the season winding down Montgomery wants to finish strong. He wants to take each day as it comes, and everything else, he says, will fall into place.

"I just need to continue to improve every day in every facet of my game," he said. "Every time I go out there, I want to help this team try to get a win and finish on a high note."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nTwo trips to the disabled list have hindered Montgomery's performance with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Now healthy, Montgomery is looking to get back to his usually self and finish the season on a positive note.
\r\n
\r\n\"[I'm feeling] pretty good, you know, getting back into things,\" he said prior to Saturday's game. \"The first couple outings here have gone pretty well, and my arm feels better than when I left. Overall, everything feels good right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nMontgomery, 22, has appeared in 25 games with the RailRiders this season. In 40 innings pitched he's 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 49 strikeouts. He's given up 15 earned runs, 25 walks and four home runs.
\r\n
\r\nIn his first two professional seasons Montgomery threw a combined 92.2 innings and went 7-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 150 strikeouts. He gave up 17 earned runs, walked 35 batters and only surrendered one home run.
\r\n
\r\nMontgomery admits that there is a noticeable difference at the Triple-A level, but the blame ultimately falls on him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think I got my arm in shape as good as I could have,\" he said. \"When I first started off here, I started really well and pitching like was capable of. Then, I think I kind of got a little tired, and that showed.
\r\n
\r\n\"I learned that up here you have to really work on counts and stay ahead of hitters,\" he continued. \"I got in a stretch where I was walking a lot of guys and falling behind a lot of counts, which wasn't helping.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn-game struggles and diminishing fastball velocity called for action to take place. On June 8, Montgomery made his first trip to the disabled list. He was activated one week later and pitched in two games. But on June 21, Montgomery was sent back to the disabled list where he stayed until July 27.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it was more just rest and kind of taking a little bit of time off,\" he said of his needed time on the disabled list. \"It was just more or less a little fatigue and taking care of that. I went down to Tampa, took about ten days off – no throwing – and then started the throwing program back up. It was beneficial to help me get the arm back in shape.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn past years, Montgomery's fastball has usually hovered around the 92-93 mph range. This year, however, he's been around the 89-90 mph area, something that has drawn scouts' attention. To some it might be concerning, but Montgomery remains confident that it really isn't an issue.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've always been a low 90's guy, and I've definitely showed that here before I left,\" he said. \"I still don't think (the velocity) is too big of an issue – it's been close to where it's been. But, yeah, I wasn't as high as I've been at times. Hopefully, that will come back.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough he hasn't caught him in many games this year, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher J.R. Murphy knows what he can expect whenever Montgomery gets the call from the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's the same old Monty,\" Murphy said. \"He's gonna throw strikes, and he's gonna get strikeouts with the slider. The sooner we can get to that slider with strike one, the better.
\r\n
\r\n\"Velocity-wise, it's a long year, and guys are going to have dead periods with their arms because the season is so long,\" he added. \"But I'm sure if the velocity is down, it'll be back up shortly.\"
\r\n
\r\nMontgomery is known around baseball for having one of the best sliders among rising prospects. He believes he's thrown it really well at times this season and has gotten a lot of swing and misses. There have been other times, he admits, where he's fallen behind hitters and hasn't been able to use it how he'd like to.
\r\n
\r\nBut his teammates know just how good Montgomery's slider is and that it gives them more confidence knowing that it will more than likely benefit the team.
\r\n
\r\n\"When he throws his slider, it never does the same thing,\" Murphy said. \"If I don't know what it's gonna do when I'm catching, I don't know how a hitter would know what it's gonna do.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the season winding down Montgomery wants to finish strong. He wants to take each day as it comes, and everything else, he says, will fall into place.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just need to continue to improve every day in every facet of my game,\" he said. \"Every time I go out there, I want to help this team try to get a win and finish on a high note.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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