NEW YORK -- The last time Jesus Montero came to Yankee Stadium, the rookie Mariners catcher was besieged by reporters looking to chronicle his story after being traded to Seattle over the offseason. But on Friday, the 22-year-old was sitting quietly at his locker with few pregame interruptions, a situation he welcomed.
"I feel more comfortable now," Montero said. "The first time we came, it was a little crazy because of the trade and Michael Pineda and all that. I'm a little more relaxed now."
That holds true for Montero's season as a whole. He has established himself as an everyday player with the Mariners -- either at designated hitter or behind the plate -- and was hitting .260 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs going into Friday's series opener.
Since the All-Star break, Montero has hit .323 and is enjoying his surge at the same time as the club has been playing better ball.
"I feel good," Montero said. "The team is winning. I like that. I'm happy; everybody is doing good. I just want to keep playing and winning every day."
As for facing his former club?
"This is my team now," Montero said, nodding his head around the Mariners' clubhouse. "We're playing the Yankees, yeah, but I don't care anymore. I just want to play my game, play hard and win."