MINNEAPOLIS — The difficult season for Jesus Montero continues. On Saturday, the Seattle Mariners announced that Montero had suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Montero was examined by the team medical director on Friday, when the injury was diagnosed.
Montero, 23, will undergo surgery sometime next week and is expected to be out approximately four to six weeks.
The tear occurred Wednesday in the Rainiers’ 25-6 win at Colorado Springs when Montero went down to block a ball in the dirt while playing in the catcher’s role.
It was the first time Montero had played catcher since being sent down to the Rainiers.
He had played in the field only as a first baseman previously.
However, the tear is also likely the product of wear and tear from catching over the years. Montero had been battling knee pain most of this season with the Mariners.
With Montero out and a 40-man roster move needed to make room for pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, who is scheduled to start Sunday for Seattle, the Mariners could recall Montero and place him on the 60-day disabled list, opening a roster spot. Otherwise, the Mariners will have to designate a player on the 40-man roster for assignment and risk losing them on waivers to another team.
Montero was optioned to Tacoma on May 22 and had played in seven games. He was hitting .250 (7-for-28) with three doubles, a triple and two RBI.
He was sent to Tacoma to work on his hitting approach, as well as learn how to play first base. Montero struggled as the Mariners starting catcher, losing the full-time job to Kelly Shoppach a few weeks into the season. He is hitting .208 (21-for-101), with a double, a triple, three home runs and 9 RBI in 29 games with Seattle this season.
Michael Saunders had his best offensive game in weeks, going 2-for-4 with a double. Even one of his outs was a sharply hit ball to left field. Saunders came into the game hitting .082 (4-for-49) in his previous 14 games. Mariners manager Eric Wedge dropped Saunders out of the leadoff spot a few games ago in hopes of sparking his bat. … With a left-hander starting for the Twins, Wedge hopes to put Justin Smoak, out with a strained oblique, in the lineup today at either first base or designated hitter. A switch-hitter, Smoak has felt no pain in his left side while swinging right-handed.
The Mariners wrap up the five-game trip and the three-game series Sunday at 11:10 a.m. with right-hander Jeremy Bonderman making his Mariners debut. Bonderman was 2-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 11 starts with Tacoma. The Twins will go with left-hander Scott Diamond (3-4, 5.22 ERA). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 1030-AM and 710-AM.