When looking at the numbers, most would think that the 2013 season was a successful one for Mark Montgomery at the Triple-A level. Montgomery went 2-3 on the year in 25 games for Scranton. Over his 40 innings pitched, Montgomery compiled 49 strikeouts while maintaining a 3.38 ERA.
When he was healthy, Montgomery was mostly successful but two trips to the disabled list limited his amount of work last season. As the 2014 season begins, Montgomery will be looking to improve upon his good numbers from last season with the main goal of staying healthy.
"I started throwing in November just to make sure everything was fine and everything felt okay after I had to shut things down for a while last year," Montgomery said.
He hopes that an enhanced offseason routine will make a big difference this year and help keep him healthy for the 2014 season.
"This offseason was definitely different," he said. "I was down in Tampa the whole time and really just focused on getting in shape and trying to get my arm healthy for this year."
After striking out 150 hitters with a combined 1.65 ERA through his first two professional seasons, Montgomery acknowledged that this year will be very important for him to get back on track.
"I just need to get back to trusting my arm as well as building my velocity back up. I have felt great though. Everything has been going really well," Montgomery said.
"I've been able to use my fastball to get ahead of guys and then start to use my slider which has been effective on hitters. So far everything has seemed to be working good for me."
J.R. Murphy spent a good amount of last season catching for Scranton/Wilkes Barre and caught him in Spring Training this year as well.
"Montgomery has some good stuff," Murphy said prior to his big league call-up. "His slider has a lot of bite to it with some good depth. He can use that pitch in any count."
With his slider working as his main out pitch, Murphy added that Montgomery's fastball command was important to him being successful.
"His fastball command is what will help him. When he can do that, it will allow him to use that slider to get guys out."
The 2011 draft pick will look to regain his form this year after last year's injury prevented him from getting the opportunity to prove himself in the New York bullpen.
"I just want to keep pitching well and get back to where I was in the past," Montgomery said. "I need to continue to attack hitters."
Montgomery knows that there's a great amount of competition around the organization when it comes to relievers. He hopes that his new offseason plan will pay dividends for him and get him back to where he feels that he can be.
"Getting ahead in the count is important for me. I am going to continue to work on doing that and just try and keep getting better by working hard each and every day," he concluded.
Montgomery Looking To Prove Himself
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