"I think a couple days off helped him as much mentally as anything else," manager Eric Wedge said. "He did a better job behind the plate, did a better job offensively, and stayed on the ball better. I know there's a lot of talk about this guy, and rightfully so, but he's still a 22-year-old player that we need to make sure that we nurture along and try to take care of him as best as we can."
After starting the season with an eight-game hitting streak during which he hit .370 (10-for-27), Montero was mired in a 3-for-30 stretch over his last nine games entering Saturday's tilt. In his first at-bat after two days off, he drew a walk on a borderline pitch, showing the patience necessary as a first step in setting himself straight at the plate.
"When you're in a slump, when you're team's going a little bit bad, you need to slow down everything and see more pitches," Montero said. "That's what I tried [Saturday]. Try to relax and have fun and hit the good pitches."
Wedge knows his role as manager of a developing young team means employing his own kind of patience as he ushers promising players toward success, and his handling of Montero, who's received the lion's share of the catching duties since Miguel Olivo went on the disabled list May 1, has helped keep the prospect grounded and focused.
"We've had a lot of conversations here, because that's where we are right now," Wedge said. "Early on you've got to have a lot more conversations, whether it be with small groups or individuals. As they understand it better and get deeper into their careers and have a better understanding of what they need to do to be successful, then those conversations become fewer and fewer and far between. Right now we're right in the thick of it."
Montero has taken the highs and lows of his season in stride, and he's an eager listener to advice from his coaching staff. Like many Mariners in the lineup, hitting at Coors Field has offered a confidence boost, as Seattle has outhit the Rockies 22-7 in the first two games of the set.
"I feel good," Montero said. "I was seeing the ball good [Saturday], swinging hard, trying to make hard contact and think about how to find those base hits to be more confident and be better every day and to help the team too."