Montero says he’s fine, plus lineups and notes
Jesus Montero was back at work Saturday, saying he’s no worse for the wear after taking a pair of hard foul balls off his chin in the fifth inning of his Cactus League debut with the Mariners on Friday.
Montero, the 22-year-old catcher acquired from the Yankees in the Michael Pineda trade, was removed from the game after the second ball clipped him in virtually the same spot on back-to-back pitches.
“I’m fine now. It hit me right here,” Montero said, pointing to the tip of his chin. “The manager said, ‘You’re not going to finish today because you did everything already and we’re going to protect you. We don’t want anything to happen to you. So I said, ‘OK.’ Nothing happened though, thank God. Everything is good.”
Montero had hit a home run in the top of that inning on a blast to deep right-center field. In his first at-bat, he drove a ball to the warning track in center and he reached base on an error and scored in the fourth.
“I got some pretty good at-bats yesterday,” he said. “I hit the ball hard. That’s what I was looking for. And at the end, I got a home run. That was a good pitch to hit and I hit it out.”
Montero isn’t scheduled to play in today’s rematch against the A’s at Peoria Stadium, as Eric Wedge is going with almost an entirely different lineup after playing a lot of backups on Friday. In fact, today’s group looks largely like what might be used when the regular-season opens, outside of Carlos Peguero at DH where Montero likely will slot in.
Hector Noesi, acquired along with Montero from the Yankees, makes his first start on the mound in the 12:05 p.m. MT/1:05 p.m. PT start, which will be on ESPN 710 Seattle radio.
Jason Vargas gets the start Sunday and Hisashi Iwakuma debuts Monday, both games against the Padres in Peoria.
Felix Hernandez, who will be the Opening Day starter, then makes his Cactus League debut on Tuesday against the Reds in Peoria.
Veteran left-handed reliever George Sherrill, who has been brought along slowly this spring, is scheduled to make his first appearance on Monday out of the bullpen.
Here is today’s full lineup vs. the A’s:
Chone Figgins 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Mike Carp LF
Miguel Olivo C
Carlos Peguero DH
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Hector Noesi RHP