Montero working hard behind the plate

Montero working hard behind the plate

Montero working hard behind the plate
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's tough to judge too much until the games begin, but rookie catcher Jesus Montero -- acquired from the Yankees in the Michael Pineda trade last month -- has looked comfortable both behind the plate and swinging the bat in his first week with the Mariners.

Montero, 22, will likely play catcher several games a week and designated hitter the rest of the time as the Mariners look to get his potent bat in the lineup. There have been questions about whether he's ready to be a Major League catcher, but manager Eric Wedge -- himself a former backstop -- says so far, so good.

"I watch him catch and work the drills and do everything," Wedge said Friday after the Mariners wrapped up the pitchers and catchers portion of camp. "He's going to continue to work and get better. But he's looked well so far.

"There are always things you feel you can help a young player with and he's no different. Because we're not in a hurry with it, [catching and third-base coach] Jeff Datz will do a fantastic job with it and they'll develop that bond and working relationship day to day. He's handling himself well."

Montero played 18 games with the Yankees last year, mostly at DH, and hit .328 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 61 at-bats. He's taken things in this week and gotten more comfortable with each day.

"I'm just trying to get to know everybody," Montero said. "It's just getting used to this organization, having fun and playing baseball."

Though live batting practice against pitchers won't begin until full-squad workouts this weekend, Montero has done some hitting against coaches. And it's pretty clear the youngster is comfortable with a bat in his hands.

"He has an approach up there," Wedge said. "He works hard to stay up the middle and go the other way. He picks his spots to turn and burn. He has a pretty good idea for a young man what he's trying to do.

"Everything you do practice-wise should be with a purpose and it looks like he's got a pretty good idea at home plate what he's trying to do up there."