TAMPA — When the Yankees acquired Frankie Montas at the trade deadline last season, they believed the right-hander was healthy despite being a few weeks removed from the injured list.
One shoulder surgery later, it’s clear that wasn’t the case.
Montas made eight starts with the Yankees last season before going back on the IL with the same shoulder inflammation and then experienced more discomfort over the offseason, which led to surgery last month that “cleaned up” his labrum and is expected to keep him out for months.
“I was like eh-eh. I wasn’t fully 100 percent,” Montas said Wednesday morning after a delayed arrival to spring training. “I was trying to pitch through it. Of course I got traded to a new team, I wanted to show what I can do. Things didn’t go the way I was expecting. But I’m here to try to help this team and go out there and show what I can really do when I’m healthy.”
In a best-case scenario, Montas could return by August. He is currently in a 12-week shutdown and still his nine or 10 more weeks until he can begin a throwing program. Montas, who is set to become a free agent after this season, is confident he can still contribute to the Yankees.
“Oh yeah, no doubt,” he said. “I’ll for sure be back this season.”
Montas pitched to a 6.35 ERA in his eight starts with the Yankees last season after coming over with reliever Lou Trivino in the trade that sent JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina and Cooper Bowman back to the Athletics.
The Yankees then placed Montas on the IL in late September, knocking him out of the ALDS before he returned in a relief capacity for the ALCS.
Montas then tried multiple times to begin a throwing program this offseason, but kept experiencing discomfort. He said he was trying to avoid surgery but called it ultimately “the best decision.”
“This was a thing I had to take care of,” Montas said of the surgery. “I don’t have control of it. Of course, trust me, I’m one of the guys that wants to be out there pitching right now and showing what I can do. But things didn’t work out that way, so just trying to rehab and come back so I can help with whatever they want me to do.”
General manager Brian Cashman told The Post’s Joel Sherman last month that Montas came to the Yankees “with a clean bill of health.”
“And obviously he wasn’t healthy, so the trade goes into a bad category,” Cashman said. “We gave up assets and we didn’t get anything for it.
“That’s also part of the business. I’ve traded players that have gone on and gotten hurt elsewhere and I’ve acquired players who [have gotten hurt]. You just don’t want to be a part of it, but it happens.”