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Montero heating up at the plate

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SEATTLE -- Jesus Montero wasn't in the starting lineup on Friday night as the Mariners continue to find sporadic rest days for regulars in the midst of a stretch of 30 games in 31 days, but the second-year catcher is doing a better job at the plate of late.

Montero hit in five consecutive games, going 7-for-19 (.368) with a double, a home run and four RBIs after an 0-for-13 streak and has lifted his season batting average to .208 after a frigid start.

"I'm getting more comfortable at the plate," Montero said. "I'm starting to feel better, trying to hit the ball hard. It's not easy to get out of a slump, but I'm working hard at it."

Montero spoke to a reporter while flashing fingernails on his right hand that he had freshly painted orange -- a trick he learned so pitchers can see his signs. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

"One time in Double-A I called for a curveball, but the pitcher couldn't see the signs and thought I called for a fastball, and I got crossed up and broke a finger," Montero said. "Never again."

Montero says it isn't always orange. Sometimes he'll color them white, sometimes green.

"Anything so they can see it," he said.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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