|7:10||Safeco Field||ROOT Sports||Game | Series|
In Mariner news, Yoervis Medina has been called up from Triple-A to replace Stephen Pryor in the bullpen. Medina is a 24-year-old right-hander who struck out more than a batter per inning in Double-A last season. He works with a mid-90's fastball, a decent slider, and fleeting control. Other than an odd one game cameo as a Rainier in 2011 -- I think Tacoma's starter had a last second emergency so they had to bring Medina up from Everett to pitch -- this is his first season above Double-A, and a big part of his promotion has to do with the fact that he's already on the 40-man roster.
Jesus Montero is again out of the lineup. This is Kelly Shoppach's third start in the team's last four games, and it appears that the process of phasing Montero out behind the plate has begun. It's for the best. Montero doesn't receive well, struggles with pitches in the dirt, and he mitigates his strong throwing arm by taking a day and a half to get out of his crouch on throws to second. He's a bad defensive catcher and the M's are better off playing him somewhere else.
Where else remains to be seen. At the moment, if he's not catching, he's a man without a job. He won't play DH with Kendrys Morales on the team. He could start taking ground balls in preparation for work at first, but I'd expect the M's to give Justin Smoak at least another month before they think seriously about pulling him from the lineup. For the moment, Montero is kind of in limbo.
It's worth thinking about what Montero's role in the organization will be going forward. If he's not catching, he needs to hit a lot to justify his place in the lineup, and he's rarely given any indication that he'll be able to do so at the major league level. It's not time to panic: he's just 23 and it's always better to give talented players every opportunity to fail before cutting bait. That said, his plate discipline and pitch recognition heven't improved -- he still hasn't walked this year -- and his inability to consistently drive the ball, this year and last, is alarming. Judging a minor leaguer's hit tool is notoriously difficult, and if Montero's wasn't nearly good as it looked when he tore through the minors, he wouldn't be the first player with his skill set to fall short of big league expectations.
|8 Austin Jackson||8 Franklin Gutierrez|
|9 Torii Hunter||5 Kyle Seager|
|5 Miguel Cabrera||DH Kendrys Morales|
|3 Prince Fielder||9 Michael Morse|
|DH Victor Martinez||7 Raul Ibanez|
|6 Jhonny Peralta||3 Justin Smoak|
|2 Alex Avila||2 Kelly Shoppach|
|4 Omar Infante||4 Dustin Ackley|
|7 Don Kelly||6 Brendan Ryan|
|1 Doug Fister||1 Aaron Harang|