Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Montero Era Begins

The much awaited Jesus Montero era begins tonight. Well, all Yankees fan hope it's the start of an era. With the Yankees in need of some added punch from the right side, Montero will get plenty of at-bats against left-handers in the final month of the season. In fact, he's been thrown right into the heat of the pennant race. He's in tonight's starting lineup vs. Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox in the finale of the three game series in Fenway Park.

Still just 22 years old, Montero has had his share of ups and down in the minor leagues. He's had his catching ability questioned at every level and has evoked consistent negative comments from opposing scouts. But Montero has confidence in his ability to be a big league catcher and even more confidence in his bat. It's that bat that the Yankees hope can do damage in September and beyond. Joe Girardi has stated that he woud like to see Montero behind the plate this month, but with the Yankees in a scuffle for the division title, that's not likely to happen any time soon. Montero will find plenty of time though at DH whenever a southpaw toes the rubber.

Montero has also had his attitude questioned; some of it due to his own actions or words, some of it as a result of over zealous media members or once again, opposing personnel. That's why the first impression he makes as a big leaguer is even more important than whether or not he can recognize a curveball or go deep in a crucial situation. The Yankees feel the hitting will come in bunches, but they want to be sure Montero is mature enough to handle the big leagues. Luckily, he'll have fellow Latin players like Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, and even fellow rookie Eduardo Nunez to help guide him.

Posada's influece is of course bit ironic since Montero's bat has become a necessity because of the continued lack of production from the Yankees veteran. Once Alex Rodriguez returns to the lineup on a regular basis, Posada will see little playing time outside of a pinch-hit here or there. Though a switch-hitter, Posada is now blocked by both Eric Chavez (from the left side) and Montero.

It's the start of one era and the end of another.

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