Montero seeing more time behind plate

Montero seeing more time behind plate

Montero seeing more time behind plate
SEATTLE -- Jesus Montero's defense has been a big topic since his acquisition from the Yankees in January, but the rookie catcher continues showing solid improvement in that phase of his game.

Montero, who gunned down two Padres basestealers in Wednesday's 1-0 loss, was back behind the plate again in Thursday's series finale as manager Eric Wedge continues giving him more time in the field.

Going into Thursday's game, Montero had thrown out 5-of-22 attempted basestealers (.227 percent). Miguel Olivo has thrown out 13-of-37 basestealers, his .351 percent third among AL catchers. John Jaso has thrown out 1-of-11, his .091 percent the lowest in the AL.

A year ago, Olivo's percent was .282 (31-of-110), while Jaso was at .167 (10-of-60) with Tampa Bay, so Montero is the midrange of those two veterans at this point.

"I was ready because I knew they had fast runners at first base," Montero said of Wednesday's work. "I just wanted to get the ball out of my hand quick and get it to second base. It's been coming along good. If you work every single day, you're going to find those good moments. That's what I need to do every single day."

Wedge said Montero still isn't ready to catch every game but has made good strides since the spring.

"I think he's gotten a lot better with his overall game behind the plate," Wedge said. "He still needs to continue to get better in different areas and be more consistent, but the way he's been working and the improvement we've seen here in the short term, there's no reason to think he won't continue to do that.

"He wants to be back there, he's passionate about it, he takes a lot of pride in working with pitchers and calling a game. So he has all the attributes to be an everyday catcher, no doubt."