Frankie Montas addition among Yankees' ALCS roster tweaks

HOUSTON -- The New York Yankees made several changes as they announced their 26-man roster for the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

The No. 1-seeded Astros, on the other hand, made only one addition, with both teams going with an even split between pitchers and position players with 13 apiece.

The Yankees chose to include one more pitcher for the best-of-seven ALCS, one less than they had for the division series against Cleveland in which they got past the Guardians in five games.

Trade-deadline acquisition Frankie Montas, who has been on the injured list since mid-September after receiving a cortisone shot to treat right shoulder inflammation, was included on the 13-man pitching staff. Montas did not pitch to expectations after being acquired by the Yankees before the Aug. 2 trade deadline, going 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts.

The Yankees are counting on Montas' vast experience against the Astros, with the 29-year-old pitching the last six seasons with the Oakland Athletics. Montas is 8-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 15 career games against Houston (13 starts), including a 3-2 record and 3.86 ERA in six career games at Minute Maid Park.

The Yankees also opted to leave out long man Lucas Luetge, who did not pitch in the divisional round against Cleveland despite having been included in the active roster. The club went instead with rookie pitcher Greg Weissert, with fellow rookie reliever Ron Marinaccio not medically cleared after having to deal with a lingering shin injury.

Veteran utility man Marwin Gonzalez, who only saw limited action in the previous round, was also left off the AL Championship Series roster, as well as versatile infielder DJ LeMahieu.

LeMahieu has not been able to play in any postseason games because of a right foot injury that landed him on the injured list back in September. LeMahieu was hopeful that he would be able to be activated after doing baseball activities while rehabbing and taking batting practice the last few weeks, but the Yankees chose to go with rookie Oswald Peraza as a healthier reserve option.

The rookie Peraza, who plays most infield positions but is a natural shortstop, was a spark plug for the Yankees as they struggled down the stretch, hitting .306/.404/.429 over 18 games since making his MLB debut Sept. 2.

With Peraza on the roster, it is likely that fellow Venezuelan rookie Oswaldo Cabrera will now mostly be relegated to the outfield since the Yankees did not include an additional player to replace left fielder Aaron Hicks. Hicks' season came to an end after suffering a left knee injury in Game 5 of the division series against the Guardians after a collision in shallow left field with Cabrera, who started Game 5 of the division series at Yankee Stadium at shortstop.

Pinch-running specialist Tim Locastro made the roster once again, and will be an option in the outfield after playing 26 games in the outfield this regular season, mostly as a defensive replacement. Cabrera has also played 37 games in the outfield, including three this postseason.

And Matt Carpenter, who made the ALCS roster after being activated for the ALDS after being out with a foot fracture since Aug. 8, will also be an option, having had 15 outfield appearances for the Yankees. Carpenter, who has been limited to a lefty bat off the bench, has said that he feels healthy and that playing the outfield could be an option for him.

The Astros mostly kept the same roster they used for the division series against Seattle, where they swept the Mariners in three games. The only change in Dusty Baker's roster was the inclusion of one more pitcher for the longer series -- Seth Martinez -- leaving out outfielder Jake Meyers.

The Astros will face a right-handed-heavy lineup in this series against New York, and Martinez, who made his first career postseason roster, finished the 2022 regular season with a 2.09 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 28⅔ innings pitched, holding opponents to a .187 batting average, and right-handed hitters to a .135 BA.