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Montero quietly making a name for himself

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PHOENIX -- Catcher Jesus Montero was robbed of a home run by a spectacular wall-climbing catch by A's center fielder Coco Crisp in the second inning of Seattle's 6-5 victory on Monday. But the youngster came back and ripped a leadoff double to right-center in his next at-bat to continue a strong spring.

While much of the talk this spring has focused on newcomers Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay, the 23-year-old Montero has quietly been hitting the ball very well while establishing himself as the regular catcher.

Montero went 1-for-3 with a double and run scored on Monday, putting his Cactus League average at .367, with a home run and four RBIs.

He would have had another homer and two more RBIs if not for Crisp's spectacular catch.

"Monte swung the bat well today," said manager Eric Wedge. "It's nice to see him hit the ball a long way to left-center, but even nicer to see him drive it to right-center the way he did."

With six catchers in camp initially, Montero's time was limited in the first weeks of Cactus League play. He now has 11 hits in 30 at-bats, while backup Kelly Shoppach is 7-for-23, Mike Zunino 5-for-22, Jesus Sucre 3-for-17, Ronny Paulino 1-for-14  and John Hicks 6-for-10.

Paulino and Hicks have both been sent to Minor League camp and further cuts will be coming, so Montero's playing time figures to increase as Wedge begins playing his regulars more in preparation for Opening Day.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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