Royals demote prospect Mike Montgomery to Double-A

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Royals pitching prospect Mike Montgomery was the 36th overall selection in the 2008 draft and ranked 19th on Baseball America‘s Top 100 list heading into the 2011 season. But his career has since stalled.

The 23-year-old left-hander posted an uninspiring 5.32 ERA and 7.7 K/9 across 150 2/3 innings last season in his first taste of the Triple-A level and was demoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas earlier today after opening this summer with a 5.69 ERA and 6.6 K/9 over his first 91 2/3 frames of 2012.

“We just want to get him back there with [Double-A Northwest Arkansas pitching coach] Larry Carter and work on some things,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told beat reporter Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. “The organization just felt it was the right thing to do. Just give him a breather and re-start a little bit. We’re trying to get him more downhill and power his fastball in the zone. We just think getting back down there will be beneficial to him.”

Montgomery had a sparkling 1.88 ERA, 0.887 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 in his two plus seasons of High-A ball.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.