NEW YORK -- A strong spring forced the Yankees to pay attention to Jordan Montgomery, who has been tabbed to make his Major League debut Wednesday against the Rays at Yankee Stadium, manager Joe Girardi said Monday.
Girardi made the announcement following the Yankees' 8-1 victory over the Rays. The 24-year-old left-hander won the club's fifth-starter competition by compiling a 3.20 ERA in 19 2/3 spring innings, then continued to pitch well in the Minors to open the year.
"There was deception," Girardi said. "You'd watch some of the swings even when he was behind in the count 2-0. They weren't always good swings. I know it's a small sample but sometimes swings can tell you a lot about a pitcher. There's some deception there and we think he has a chance to be really good."
The Yankees optioned left-hander Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Monday's game and will need to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate Montgomery, who was 14-5 with a 2.13 ERA and one shutout in 25 starts at Double-A and Triple-A last year.
"He deserves it," catcher Kyle Higashioka said. "I knew he had great stuff and he was working on his consistency and working on his slider a little bit. Starting last year, progressively, it was better and better. It evolved to when he was taking the mound, you knew it was like a shutout."
Luis Severino had originally been scheduled to start Wednesday, but he will go Thursday instead. Girardi said that he wanted Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia to pick up an extra day of rest; they now line up to start Friday and Saturday, respectively, against the Cardinals.
A fourth-round selection by the Yankees in the 2014 MLB Draft, Montgomery is rated as the team's No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline.com and beat out Luis Cessa and Chad Green for the start. Girardi was intrigued by him late in the spring, sending him to the mound for starts against the Rays and Blue Jays.
"You look at his numbers last year, they're very good," Girardi said. "He was really good in Double-A, he was really good in Triple-A and we thought he pitched extremely well when we started him in Spring Training. That's why he's getting an opportunity."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com 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.