Montero’s return draws a crowd
NEW YORK – Rookie Jesus Montero isn’t a man whose day-to-day quotes fill notebooks, but the media was waiting for him in gaggles – writers, television crews, radio folk.
It’s to be expected when you’re a former Yankees phenom, and you’re healthy, while the fellow the Mariners traded for you, pitcher Michael Pineda, is out for the season after shoulder surgery.
“I’ve got a lot of good memories here, it was my first big-league team,” Montero said “I was ready for this. I’m excited to be back, and looking forward to helping my new team win.”
Pitcher Hector Noesi drew a smaller crowd, although he was in the same trade.
“I love Seattle,” he told New York writers. “I know my way around town walking, but not driving, yet. Jesus and I are both getting the opportunity to play more.”
Eventually, the throng descended upon Seattle manager Eric Wedge, and among the first questions was what he thought of Montero as a catcher.
“I want to know where this ‘He can’t catch’ stuff started,” Wedge said. “I suspect it started with you guys. He’s doing fine. Catching takes a toll on the mind and body, so we’re trying to be careful and not put too much on him.
“It’s like playing back-to-back games behind the plate. He did that for the first time, then two more after a day when he (was the designated hitter), so that was catching four out of five games.
“It’s new to him. He’s learning. Jesus is doing just fine.”
And, as if to back up his skipper’s point, Montero cranked out a solo home run in the top of the sixth Friday night.
BEAVAN MISSES TURN
Blake Beavan threw the baseball for the first time since being hit by a line drive on his right elbow, and although he felt no pain, the team has decided to accommodate the bruise.
Instead of pitching Sunday in New York, the Mariners will give Beavan two extra days off and he’ll pitched Tuesday in Boston. The team will have Kevin Millwood start today, Jason Vargas on Sunday. After Thursday’s day off for travel, both will be starting on their usual rest.
“If it was up to me, I’d start on the day I’m supposed to start, but that might not be smart,” Beavan acknowledged.
OOPS, IT’S A WINNER
Now it can be told: Michael Saunders started the winning rally Wednesday at Safeco Field with an opposite-field double, scoring the winning run on a John Jaso sacrifice fly.
“It was an excuse-me swing and I didn’t know where the ball was when I first hit it,” Saunders said Friday. “I thought maybe I’d fouled it off the other way. Then I saw it and took off.”
Catcher Miguel Olivo isn’t on the trip, staying behind to rehab a strained groin muscle. He’s far enough along he might catch a bullpen session or two with the Tacoma Rainiers. The team expects to re-evaluate him after this road trip, then determine whether he needs a stint in the minors before being activated.
Seattle plays the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. (PDT) on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Noesi (2-3, 6.30) vs. Phil Hughes (2-4, 6.67).