HOUSTON -- The Yankees' rotation depth is about to be tested, as Jordan Montgomery could miss up to two months after being diagnosed with a left elbow flexor strain on Wednesday.
Montgomery threw seven pitches in the first inning of the Yankees' 4-0 victory over the Astros on Tuesday, then mentioned that he was experiencing tightness in his elbow area. Manager Aaron Boone said that Montgomery will not play catch or throw for two to three weeks.
"We're probably looking at a six-to-eight-week timetable by the time he gets back with us on the mound," Boone said. "So not great news, but it's not worst-case news either. Hopefully, he can use this time to get well and get strong and come back and help us for most of the second half."
Montgomery, 25, is 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts and has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. Boone said that there is no indication that Montgomery's flexor strain should be viewed as a precursor to Tommy John surgery.
"There's nothing that would suggest that at this time," Boone said. "It's a strain of the flexor. I think it's pretty straightforward and clear of what it is, so the three-week shutdown is kind of the timeline."
Rookie right-hander Domingo German will get the first crack at the vacant rotation spot, set to start on Sunday against the Indians. German, 25, threw 61 pitches in four scoreless innings on Tuesday against Houston.
"Domingo has been really valuable for us as well, and we have a lot of confidence in him being able to step into that role," Boone said.
To replace Montgomery on the active roster, New York signed right-hander David Hale to a Major League contract on Wednesday, promoting him from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Hale pitched two innings for the Yankees on April 23, then was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Twins, for whom he pitched three innings on Friday before again being designated for assignment. He signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees before Tuesday's game.
In additional moves on Wednesday, the Yankees transferred outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the 60-day disabled list and reinstated outfielder Clint Frazier from the seven-day concussion DL, optioning Frazier to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
• Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) is expected to begin playing in Minor League rehabilitation games this week in Florida. Bird should need 10 days to two weeks of game action and appears to be on track to meet the estimated six-to-eight-week recovery timetable from his March 27 procedure.
• Luis Cessa (left oblique strain) is at least a week or two from playing catch, according to Boone, who said that Tommy Kahnle (right shoulder tendinitis) and Adam Warren (right back strain) are on faster tracks. Kahnle has resumed playing catch and Warren is close to doing so.
• Ellsbury (left hip soreness) is hitting and running, and he could be playing in a game within the next 10 days, Boone said.