Montero looking to develop as a catcher

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 23, 2012
(Eds: Adds details, quotes. With AP Photos.) At first glance, it's easy to see the potential in Jesus Montero. The Seattle Mariners' prized acquisition in an offseason trade with the New York Yankees is an imposing presence. He's a catcher and designated hitter listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, and the ball jumps off his bat with a crack audible across the Mariners' spring training facility. Montero, 22, went 20 for 61 (.328) in 18 games with the Yankees after a September call-up last season. He hit four home runs and four doubles. When the Mariners - in need of something to jolt their offense after finishing last in the majors in runs (556) and team batting average (.233) - went in search of offense combined with youth and promise, Montero was their target. Montero looks to be slotted in the cleanup or fifth spot in the Mariners' batting order, at DH to start. The team hopes to develop him as a catcher, with veteran Miguel Olivo providing some power and handling the pitching staff while Montero works on his defense and game-calling. Montero has heard the criticism about him being a liability behind the plate but pays it little mind. He said he'd like to be in the starting lineup as a catcher at some point. ''I do, but I have a lot in front of me. My contract's only for a year, but I'm going to do everything I can this year to be there by midseason if not before,'' Montero said. ''I just think about doing my work and trying to prove that I can catch.'' Montero has been catching bullpen sessions daily and learning more about the pitching staff he's working with. His hitting draws more attention, however. ''I just have to follow my routine and that will help me the most,'' Montero said. ''I don't think I have any one detail that the coaches have talked to me about.'' Fans looking for Montero, if they've never seen him before, might confuse him for a minor-league prospect given that he wears an odd number for a front-line player: 63. ''It was the number the Yankees gave me in the big leagues,'' Montero said. ''I hit my first home wearing that number and I plan to stay with it.'' Montero flourished in the Yankees organization, which he signed with as a non-drafted free agent in 2006. Montero finds his situation more relaxed with the Mariners, as opposed to the high visibility of the Yankees. He's set to start at catcher in Friday's intrasquad game, with the plan being to get him regular at-bats all season long either at catcher or as a DH. ''We feel like he's very capable of being an everyday catcher,'' Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ''We're fortunate now with Miguel Olivo, we don't need him to be an everyday catcher this year. We've got plenty of time to take it slow with him and help him continue to work towards that.'' Notes: Pitchers will likely get an inning or so of work, and position players who will start Friday's intrasquad game include 3B Chone Figgins, 2B Dustin Ackley, 1B Justin Smoak, C Olivo and normal SS Brendan Ryan at DH. OF Franklin Gutierrez is expected to play in Sunday's intrasquad game, as he is being eased along. Figgins, who has played primarily second base and third base for Seattle, got some work at shortstop Thursday and will see time there all spring, Wedge said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Braves make up with fan ejected by security for interference

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

Magic Johnson indicates Brandon Ingram is Lakers’ only untradeable player

Congress drafted a bill that could legalize online sports betting; how soon might it happen?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Oscar De La Hoya writes scathing letter opposing Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather

Mike Brown responds to Tyronn Lue saying Boston tougher to defend than Golden State

Concussions won’t change the way Luke Kuechly plays

Kevin Durant opens up about how he shuts out the haters

Magic Johnson compares LaVar Ball to Kris Jenner

Dick’s Sporting Goods slipped again and sold Cavs NBA Finals merchandise early

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

It’s our civic duty to stop attending Super Bowls in new stadiums

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker