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No surprise: Hart pitcher wins pro team award

Montgomery wins Pitcher of the Year for Surprise Royals

Posted: September 3, 2008 10:12 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Surprise Royals and former Hart pitcher Michael Montgomery was stellar in his first pro season. Surprise Royals and former Hart pitcher Michael Montgomery was stellar in his first pro season.
Surprise Royals and former Hart pitcher Michael Montgomery was stellar in his first pro season.
Add another accolade to Michael Montgomery’s résumé.

The Hart graduate was selected as the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year.

The 19-year old southpaw finished his short season rookie debut 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 12 outings, nine of those starts.

During a team meeting, Montgomery received the news of the honor and wasn’t even aware the recognition was given out.

“I felt I had a good year,” Montgomery said via telephone from his home in Valencia. “I didn’t know the award was coming.”

Montgomery, who was taken in this year’s supplemental first round by the Kansas City Royals, allowed 32 hits in 42 2/3 innings, striking out 34.

“He did a lot of things right this summer which are necessary to be successful at that level,” said Hart head
coach Jim Ozella.

The 6-foot-5 pitcher, with a 95-mph fastball, will participate in the Kansas City Royals Futures Night where he, and the other minor league athletes of the year, will be recognized in front of fans at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 19.

It will be the first time Montgomery steps onto the field of a major league team, but certainly not the last.
Recently, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore commented on the need to strengthen the Minor League system, and Montgomery is a part of the progress.

The former Indian has had the advantage of working with Cy Young-winning left-hander Mark Davis, who is the pitching coach.

Montgomery said that Davis has already armed him with a sharp curve ball, something he has been working on all summer.

“The last game I played in really sticks out,” Montgomery said. “ I threw a really good curve ball and I was pleased with it and so was Mark.”

Now baseball is his 9-5, his bread and butter, no longer just a hobby. Along with that, comes a lot of sacrifices, and Montgomery said he is still making adjustments to life on his own as a minor leaguer.

He said he is adapting to being away from family and friends for extended periods of time, cooking for himself and doing his own laundry. But aside from the domestic activities, the SCV’s second-highest Major League Baseball draftee ever is devoted to his craft.

“I love it, it’s awesome,” he said. “I really enjoy it so it’s not bad I just have to adjust.”

Montgomery has his eyes set on the next phase of his career.

He returns to Arizona on Sept. 15 to begin five weeks of instructional ball followed by months of training during baseball’s spring season.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Ozella said. “To win you have to take care of the first steps and that’s what he’s doing.”

And for Montgomery, his goal remains the same.

“I want to move up soon and just keep getting better.”


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