Jesus Montero Improving in a Winter League

jesus_montero_2013SEATTLE — Jesus Montero became something of a forgotten man in the Mariners’ plans last season, but the converted first baseman is making some noise this winter for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan League.

Montero lost his job as Seattle’s starting catcher when he was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma in late May, and then left knee surgery and a 50-game suspension cost him most of the rest of his season. But the 23-year-old went to Venezuela to get some work and is hitting .306 with four doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs in 18 games while playing primarily at first base for Lara.

Montero went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored in a 6-3 win over Bravos de Margarita on Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to seven games.

The Mariners are looking at Montero strictly as a first base and designated hitter candidate now, and it will be interesting to see if he works his way back into the mix next spring, given the club’s need for right-handed hitting help.

Source: Greg Johns,