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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Montero sent down by M's

By Andrew Marchand

The Michael Pineda trade is improving. Slightly.

Jesus Montero, who is batting .208, has struggled to the point he is being sent down by the Seattle Mariners.

From the Herald Tribune:

Catcher Jesus Montero will be sent to Triple-A Tacoma, while catcher Jesus Sucre will be selected from the Rainiers. Double-A back-up catcher Brandon Bantz, who was serving as the starter in Jackson after John Hicks suffered a groin injury and went on the DL, is already headed to Tacoma to serve as Mike Zunino's backup.

With three catchers in Tacoma, and Zunino garnering the bulk of the playing time, it appears the Mariners may have finally taken a step back from the idea that Montero will be catcher at the big league level.

What position will Montero play in Tacoma? Well, he figures to see plenty of time at designated hitter and some time at first base.

Montero's demotion to Triple-A seemed to be more likely with each passing day and each failed at-bat. While much of the focus has been on his defense -- and his struggles to catch at a serviceable level in the big leagues -- it's Montero's hitting that has been his biggest issue.

As one of the top prospects in baseball a few years ago, it was a given that Montero would never be a great defensive catcher. His lack of athleticism, his size and fundamental flaws seemed too much to overcome to become even an above average defensive catcher. But his hitting, in particular his raw power to all fields, was supposed to help offset those defensive shortcomings.


Meanwhile, Pineda is probably two more outings in Tampa from going on a minor league rehab assignment, making June a real possibility for his return to the majors. Since the trade in January 2012, Pineda, 24, has yet to pitch for the Yankees because of shoulder surgery.

QUESTION: Is your feeling about the Montero trade changing?