NEW YORK -- Mariners rookie catcher Jesus Montero was the center of much attention prior to Friday's series opener with the Yankees, as he returned for the first time to the city where he came up as one of baseball's premier prospects.
Montero, 22, tried to limit the media crush, but he still had several rounds of interviews with groups of reporters interested in the young player who had been dealt for pitcher Michael Pineda in the four-player trade in January.
"It's fine," Montero said. "They want to talk to me, and I just need to have a little fun with it. It's really nice being here. I have a lot of good memories from Yankee Stadium. This was my first team that I came up with, and I'm really happy to be here."
Montero went 1-for-4 with a home run on Friday and played well behind the plate. He'll start once more at catcher during the remaining two games in New York this weekend, manager Eric Wedge said. As for being the center of attention?
"It's a good experience for him," said Wedge. "It comes with the territory. When you have expectations and come from a market and then come back to a market like this, you've got to handle it. You've got to keep it in front of you, you can't get caught up in it. But most importantly, you've always got to keep your job first and foremost, and monitor your time that way and keep your mind on point."
New York writers were curious if Wedge was skeptical about Montero's ability behind the plate based on pre-trade reports in the high-profile deal.
"I wasn't because I'd seen him on tape," Wedge said. "Things take on a life of their own. Nobody has been able to answer where that whole 'he may not be able to catch' came from. If I had to guess, it was probably from you guys.
"Somebody started it somewhere, but I believe my eyes and what I see and so do our coaches. And we believe in the kid. The most important thing is, you just can't rush him. He's 22 years old. There's a lot of demand with that position, and you have to respect that."
Hector Noesi, the right-handed pitcher acquired by Seattle in the same deal, will start Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT game against the Yankees.