HomeMLB RumorsThe Opener: Montgomery, Verlander, Yankees

The Opener: Montgomery, Verlander, Yankees

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As the 2024 regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world headed into the weekend:

1. Montgomery to debut:

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is slated to make the first start of his Diamondbacks career tonight after two starts at the Triple-A level to help the southpaw build up after he missed Spring Training while lingering on the free agent market. Montgomery will take the ball opposite fellow late-signing lefty Blake Snell and the Giants in San Francisco, with first pitch scheduled for 7:15pm local time. The lefty is already on the 40-man roster, but Arizona will have to make a corresponding move to clear space for Montgomery on the active roster before tonight’s game.

The 31-year-old enjoyed an excellent season with the Cardinals and Rangers last year, pitching to a 3.20 ERA in 32 regular season starts before going on to post a 2.90 ERA with Texas in the postseason en route to the first World Series championship in franchise history. Now with the Diamondbacks on a short-term deal, Montgomery will look to avoid the slow starts to the season other late signers such as Snell (12.86 ERA), Cody Bellinger (75 wRC+), and Matt Chapman (82 wRC+) have suffered so far this season.

2. Verlander to be activated:

Future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander has been sidelined to this point in the 2024 season amid nagging shoulder fatigue that cost him virtually all of Spring Training. The veteran righty has since made two rehab starts in the minor leagues and built up to 78 pitches, which was enough for the Astros to decide he was ready to make his season debut tonight against the Nationals in D.C. opposite young lefty MacKenzie Gore. Verlander, 41, took a bit of a step back last year from the dominant form he had shown since first joining Houston in 2017 but was still a well above average starter, posting a 3.22 ERA (130 ERA+) and 3.86 FIP in 27 starts between the Mets and Astros. The 510th start of Verlander’s illustrious career is expected to begin at 6:45pm local time this evening.

3. Yankees broadcaster to be honored:

John Sterling has been the radio voice of the Yankees since first joining the club’s booth in 1989 more than three decades ago, but a press release from the club earlier this week announced that the longtime play-by-play man has retired after calling his final game earlier this month. The 85-year-old called more than 5,000 games for the Yankees in total and saw them make the postseason in 24 of his 36 years as the club’s radio voice, including their World Series championships in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009. Sterling will be recognized for his lengthy tenure in the Bronx tomorrow, prior to the Yankees 1:05pm local time game against the Rays.

“I am a very blessed human being,” Sterling said in a statement earlier this week. “I have been able to do what I wanted, broadcasting for 64 years. As a little boy growing up in New York as a Yankees fan, I was able to broadcast the Yankees for 36 years. It’s all to my benefit, and I leave very, very happy. I look forward to seeing everyone again on Saturday.”

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