Three years ago Jordan Montgomery came from far off the pace to win the final spot in the Yankees’ rotation, then impressed in the first taste of the big leagues.
A 9-7 ledger with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts at 24 years old provided a glimpse of what the 6-foot-6, 228-pound left-hander could develop into.
Now, after Tommy John surgery in 2018, when he was limited to six starts at the beginning of the season and working in two September big-league games late in 2019, Montgomery enters spring training as the betting favorite to cop a rotation spot that opened Wednesday when James Paxton underwent back surgery that could keep him out through May.
Joining Montgomery in the field of candidates are Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King and longshot Deivi Garcia, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect.
“He has good stuff, he battles out there and attacks the strike zone,’’ an NL scout said of Montgomery. “Pre-surgery he and King had the best command. They throw a lot of strikes.’’
With 36 major league starts, Montgomery has more starting experience than the other four combined. Of Cessa’s 86 outings, 19 have been as a starter, though his 232 big-league innings…