21-year-old catcher Jesus Montero doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to return to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s planning to vie for the starting catcher position. He will have to compete against former LA Dodger Russell Martin to get the spot. Yankees GM Brian Cashman stands by his statement that Russell Martin will be the starting catcher for this season. The only drawback is that Martin is still not 100% healed from a hip surgery that he had during the off-season. This means that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a remote possibility (provided he stays healthy until Opening Day) that Montero could unseat him as starting catcher. More than likely, however, Montero will have to compete against Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine for the backup catcher position.
According to the NY PostÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Brian Costello, Montero said “I want to be behind the plate.Ã¢â‚¬Â He continued Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want to show everybody that I can catch with the Yankees.”
MonteroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been working out at the Yankees minor league complex for the past two weeks. He showed up two weeks earlier than he did last season. MonteroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also lost weight and has been working on his defensive skills, which are still a concern for the Yankees. Montero has come to this season with a more determined attitude because he wants to earn the starting catcher position.
“I want to be in the big leagues this year,” Montero said. “I’m working really hard. I’ve spent more time here in the cage and doing catching things. I want to be with the team this year. I want to help them to win, too. I’m working really hard here.”
The Yankees will have to decide if Montero is ready to play in the majors or if he would further benefit from more Triple-A play in Scranton. To Montero, this is not an option. “I think being in the majors would be better,” he said. “Everybody wants to be there. I’m going to try to do the best to be with the team, learn real quick and help them.”
Yankees GM Brian Cashman appreciates Montero’s desire, but he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe that the Yankees should rush into the decision of promoting him yet:
“Montero’s a very hungry, talented player,” Cashman said. “That’s a recipe for great success. He has huge talent and he’s hungry to be successful. That will be to our benefit, and his benefit. Russell Martin’s presence here will allow for that to develop and be finished off in the proper way rather than in a rushed way.”
While Montero had a solid 2010 season, it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exactly an outstanding one. He managed to hit .289 with 21 HRs. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not MonteroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at bats concern the Yankees, but rather theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re concerned that he needs to clean up his defense a bit more. For his part, Montero said that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made some improvements.
“I did a good job last year, thank God,” Montero said. “I’ve got to work harder this year to show them that I can catch. I know that I can do it.”
On that note, I respect MonteroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s enthusiasm this season and wish him luck, whatever happens.