Montero slated for regular catching duty

Montero slated for regular catching duty
PEORIA, Ariz. - Jesus Montero's playing time will come almost strictly while he's catching this season, due to the influx of potential designated hitters on the club with the addition of Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Michael Morse.

But manager Eric Wedge said on Thursday that he's fine with that situation, as the 23-year-old Montero has developed considerably in this second spring with the club.

"I'm very pleased with the last couple weeks in particular," Wedge said. "I felt like he turned the corner about halfway through the camp. I think we've seen that. Having said that, Kelly Shoppach is going to catch, too, because we need to keep Monte strong and in a position where he can perform to the best of his ability. It's something I'll monitor very close.

"But from a playing-time standpoint, his time is going to have to be behind home plate. Obviously I'm comfortable with him DHing, but we have so many other options with that to get people in the lineup we feel make us a better team."

Montero has been hitting well this spring, as well, his average at .395 after an 0-for-2 outing on Thursday against the Cubs.

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.