By Larry LaRue The News Tribune
NEW YORK — Rookie Jesus Montero isn’t a man whose day-to-day quotes fill notebooks, but the media was waiting for him in gaggles — writers, television crews, radio folk — when he arrived at Yankee Stadium.
It’s to be expected when you’re a former Yankees phenom, and you’re healthy while the player the Mariners traded for you, pitcher Michael Pineda, is lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
“I’ve got a lot of good memories here, it was my first big-league team,” Montero said “I was ready for this, I’m excited to be back and looking forward to helping my new team win.”
Teammate Hector Noesi drew a smaller crowd, though he was part of the same trade.
“I love Seattle,” he told the New York writers. “I know my way around town walking, but not driving, yet. Jesus and I are both getting the opportunity to play more.”
Eventually, the throng descended upon manager Eric Wedge, and among the first questions was what he thought of Montero as a catcher.
“I want to know where this ‘He can’t catch’ stuff started,” Wedge said. “I suspect it started with you guys. He’s doing fine. Catching takes a toll on the mind and body, so we’re trying to be careful and not put too much on him.
“It’s like playing back-to-back games behind the plate. He did that for the first time, then two more after a day when he DHed, so that was catching four out of five games.
“It’s new to him. He’s learning. Jesus is doing just fine.”
Blake Beavan threw the baseball for the first time since being hit by a line drive on his right elbow Monday night, and though he felt no pain, the team has decided to accommodate the bruise.
“If it was up to me, I’d start on the day I’m supposed to start, but that might not be smart,” Beavan said.
Instead of pitching Beavan on Sunday in New York, the Mariners will give him two extra days rest and he’ll pitch Tuesday in Boston. In the interim, the team will have Kevin Millwood start Sunday and Jason Vargas on Monday.
With the day off for travel, both will be starting with their usual rest.
Michael Saunders started the game-winning rally Wednesday at Safeco Field with an opposite-field double, scoring the winning run on a John Jaso sacrifice fly.
“It was an excuse-me swing and I didn’t know where the ball was when I first hit it,” Saunders said Friday. “I thought maybe I’d fouled it off the other way. Then I saw it and took off.”
Catcher Miguel Olivo isn’t on the trip. He stayed behind to rehab a strained groin muscle. He’s far enough along he might catch a bullpen session or two with the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers. The team expects to re-evaluate him when it returns from this trip, then determine whether he needs a stint in the minors before being activated.