By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
PEORIA, Ariz. — Jesus Montero isn’t going to worry about things that he can’t control. Instead, he’s choosing to concentrate on preparing for the upcoming season — the biggest of his young career.
Why this mentality? It’s pretty standard for most players during spring training, but it’s appropriate for Montero, who recently found himself linked to baseball’s current big scandal.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, Montero’s name appeared on a document in the records of BioGenesis, a now-closed Miami clinic in the center of a recent performance enhancing drug investigation involving several major league players.
Since the news came out, Montero has maintained his innocence and gone about preparing for the season.
“It’s been fine for me,” he said. “I don’t really know what is going on. I don’t have anything to do with those people. I know my agency is handling everything. I don’t know anything about it. I talk to my family and tell them there is nothing to worry about.”
Montero’s representation — Brooklyn-based ACES, headed by Seth and Sam Levinson — also represents Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz, whose names also appear in the BioGenesis documents.
“Neither Sam nor I, or anyone else at ACES, have ever met or even heard of Anthony Bosch until the recent news stories, nor does anyone have any knowledge of or connection to Biogenesis,” Seth Levinson said in a released statement.
Montero is putting his faith in the Levinsons to take care of the situation.
“For me, I just want to focus on baseball. I just want to be here and pay attention to my team and be ready,” he said. “They are going to handle everything. I didn’t have anything to do with that. I know I didn’t do anything wrong. They are going to clean everything up. They are going to do everything for me.”
There was some speculation that Montero’s younger brother, who is also named Jesus and is a catcher in the Cardinals organization, might be the name on the document. But Montero dismissed that notion.
“We don’t have nothing to do with that clinic,” he said. “Nothing.”
Left-hander Saunders signed; Carp designated for assignment
Joe Saunders was dressed in Mariners workout gear and sitting in front of his locker in the clubhouse in Peoria, but his signing didn’t become official until later in the day as the Mariners had to make room on their 40-man roster for the left-handed starting pitcher.
The casualty was first baseman/designated hitter Mike Carp, who was designated for assignment. The team will have 10 days to either trade, release or outright Carp.
Saunders, 31, signed a one-year contract that is reportedly worth around $7 million. Last season, in 28 combined starts with the Diamondbacks (21) and Orioles (7), he went 9-3 with a 4.07 ERA.
In eight big league seasons, Saunders has a 78-65 record with a 4.15 earned run average in 189 career starts. He is also quite familiar with Safeco Field, having pitched for the Angels. He’s made nine starts, posting a 6-0 record with a 2.13 ERA.
Carp, 26, was acquired in a three-team trade from the Mets in 2008. He appeared in 173 games over four seasons with the Mariners, hitting .255 (139-for-545) with 28 double, 2 triples and 18 home runs. Last year, his season was derailed by two separate trips to the disabled list. He appeared in 59 games, hitting .213 with five homers and 20 RBI. But with the addition of Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, he became expendable.
M’s sign pitchers Garland, Loe
The Mariners signed a pair of veteran major league pitchers to minor league contracts on Tuesday after they passed their required physicals.
Right-handers Jon Garland and Kameron Loe received invitations to big league spring training and have legitimate chances to make the 25-man roster.
Garland, 33, missed all of last season as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in July of 2011. He tried to make it back for last season, but had setbacks.
“Going into spring, I’d gotten off the mound a few times and I was going in the wrong direction,” he said. “Every time I got on the mound, it was getting weaker and it wasn’t recovering as well. And I knew right then and there that I had to shut it down and give it the time it needed. It was probably the best decision I ever made.”
Now a year and a half removed from the surgery, he said there are no lingering effects.
“I’m 100 percent, there’s no question in my mind,” he said. “I’ve been throwing off the mound for over a month and I’m feeling strong.”
Garland will vie for a spot in the rotation. Realistically, the Mariners have one, possibly two, open spots behind Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Saunders.
“I know what I have to go out and do,” Garland said. “The number one thing is staying healthy and trying to get back to what I’m capable of doing, going out and giving a big league team a chance to win a ball game.”
Garland had multiple offers from teams, but chose Seattle.
“There were some pretty good options out there,” he said. “But when I looked at it on paper, I thought I had a really good opportunity with this team.”
Garland has a career record of 132-119 with a 4.32 earned run average. Garland’s last full season was in 2010 when he made 33 starts for the Padres, going 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA. He’s made over 30 starts in a season, nine times in his career and eclipsed the 200 inning mark five times.
Loe, 31, posted a 6-5 record with two saves and a 4.61 ERA in 70 relief appearances with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. In 2010, he made a career record 72 relief appearances, posting a 4-7 record with a 3.50 ERA. That season, he struck out 61 batters and walked just 16 in 72 innings pitched.
Loe does have plenty of experience pitching in the American League West. He spent parts of five seasons with the Texas Rangers, first as a starter and then a reliever. At 6-foot-8 he casts an imposing presence on the mound.