SEATTLE – Less than a year after hitting a new low in a career that has yet to match projections, Jesus Montero was back in the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse on Thursday thankful and appreciative of getting another opportunity in the majors.
“It means a lot. It means hard work pays off,” Montero said. “It’s been really good. It’s been awesome. My wife and my family is really happy to be here, with all the work we did together.”
Montero was recalled by the Mariners, giving the one-time top prospect another, albeit possibly brief, shot in the majors. He was called up ahead of a series opener against the Los Angeles Angels with Seattle set to face three left-handers to close out the schedule prior to the All-Star break, giving the right-handed-hitting Montero an opportunity to show the numbers he posted at Triple-A Tacoma were no fluke.
Montero was leading the Pacific Coast League in hits, runs and RBIs. He was batting .332 with 15 homers and 68 RBIs in 84 games, all part of a resurgence that started last summer when Montero’s season abruptly ended after a spat with a scout while on a minor league rehab assignment.
“Sometimes for me you’ve got to go through things so (you) learn,” Montero said. “That’s what happened.”
Montero was once viewed as one of the top young prospects in baseball. He was the centerpiece of a trade between the Mariners and Yankees that sent pitcher Michael Pineda to New York. Montero hit .260 with 15 homers in his first full major league season with the Mariners in 2012, but his career was on a downward tilt since.
He was suspended 50 games in 2013 as part of the Biogenesis probe and had his heated confrontation with a scout during a Class A game in Boise last August. Montero also struggled with his weight, reporting for spring training in 2014 significantly overweight.
Montero shed the excess weight this past off-season as part of a makeover that included his attitude and approach. The results were evident in the minors, where Montero was hitting .362 against lefties in the PCL.
The former catcher is now a first baseman and designated hitter.
Seattle optioned starting pitcher J.A. Happ to Class A Bakersfield, allowing the Mariners the opportunity to add another bat this weekend because Happ is not scheduled to start again until after the All-Star break. Because of his service time, Happ had to agree to the move.
The addition of Montero was part of a flurry of roster moves Seattle made. Left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush, one of Seattle’s consistent performers in the bullpen this season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left biceps tendinitis.
Seattle also optioned right-handed reliever Mayckol Guiape and recalled lefty Vidal Nuno and right-hander Danny Farquhar to take those spots in the bullpen.
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