Montero jumping into first-base duties at Tacoma

Montero jumping into first-base duties at Tacoma

SEATTLE -- The Mariners have wasted no time throwing Jesus Montero into first-base duties in Triple-A Tacoma after sending him down to the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Montero went 2-for-4 with a double and triple in Saturday's 9-5 win over Reno while playing his second straight game at first base. He's hit .300 in his brief duty and impressed manager Eric Wedge with his willingness to jump right into a new position after the Mariners decided his future might not be at catcher.

"That was a tough send-down," Wedge said Sunday. "He's a young man and really hasn't been through that before. For him to go down there right away and accept the whys and wherefores and play, good for him. That's what it takes. That's the first step. That means a lot."

As for a potential transition to first base?

"He's always dabbled in the infield and taken ground balls at first or third, just messing around with it," Wedge said. "It's one of the advantages of the Minor Leagues. You can do some things down there you can't do up here. We've got guys working with him and he's all-in with it. You learn that much quicker, if you've got the flexibility to do that."

Wedge feels the work ethic Montero needed as a catcher and his size will help him at first base, though he acknowledges the transition won't be easy.

"First base is a very underrated position," Wedge said. "There's a lot going on there, a lot of action and responsibility. So it's not something we take for granted. We don't just assume this is going to happen. It's going to take a lot of work and time to see if this is going to be an option for Jesus, but you've got to give it a shot."

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.