SEATTLE -- Jesus Montero's defense has been a big topic since his acquisition from the Yankees in January, but the rookie catcher continues showing solid improvement in that phase of his game.
Montero, who gunned down two Padres basestealers in Wednesday's 1-0 loss, was back behind the plate again in Thursday's series finale as manager Eric Wedge continues giving him more time in the field.
Going into Thursday's game, Montero had thrown out 5-of-22 attempted basestealers (.227 percent). Miguel Olivo has thrown out 13-of-37 basestealers, his .351 percent third among AL catchers. John Jaso has thrown out 1-of-11, his .091 percent the lowest in the AL.
A year ago, Olivo's percent was .282 (31-of-110), while Jaso was at .167 (10-of-60) with Tampa Bay, so Montero is the midrange of those two veterans at this point.
"I was ready because I knew they had fast runners at first base," Montero said of Wednesday's work. "I just wanted to get the ball out of my hand quick and get it to second base. It's been coming along good. If you work every single day, you're going to find those good moments. That's what I need to do every single day."
Wedge said Montero still isn't ready to catch every game but has made good strides since the spring.
"I think he's gotten a lot better with his overall game behind the plate," Wedge said. "He still needs to continue to get better in different areas and be more consistent, but the way he's been working and the improvement we've seen here in the short term, there's no reason to think he won't continue to do that.
"He wants to be back there, he's passionate about it, he takes a lot of pride in working with pitchers and calling a game. So he has all the attributes to be an everyday catcher, no doubt."
Mariners sign two more Draft picks
SEATTLE -- The Mariners announced the signing of two more of their top picks from last week's First-Year Player Draft on Thursday with pitchers Edwin Diaz and Tyler Pike agreeing to deals.
Diaz, an 18-year-old right-hander from Puerto Rico, was the team's third-round pick (98th overall). Pike, 18, is a left-hander from Winter Haven, Fla., who went 8-2 with a 0.51 ERA with 134 strikeouts in 82 innings his senior season of high school. He was the Mariners third-round supplemental pick (126th overall).
Both Diaz and Pike were at Safeco Field on Thursday and will report to the Mariners' Rookie affiliate in the Arizona League.
"It's amazing," Pike said of his Seattle tour. "It's a great experience just to see how well they treat you. All the guys, everybody says they're all stuck up and everything, but they're all nice guys."
Pike signed with the club for more than double the recommended slot for a third-round compensation Draft pick, according to figures obtained by MLB.com. He will receive $850,000, well above the $370,800 assigned value for that pick in MLB's new system.
The Mariners also went above the assigned value to land high school shortstop Joe DeCarlo, who was one of 25 Draft picks whose signings were announced by the club Wednesday. DeCarlo signed for $1.3 million, which is more than the assigned value of $806,000.
The Mariners have been aggressive in getting deals with many of their top picks. Fifth-rounder Chris Taylor signed for $500,000 (assigned value $264,500) and Timmy Lopes got $550,000 in the sixth round (assigned value $198,100).
The Mariners still haven't signed first-rounder Mike Zunino or eighth-rounder Nick Halamandaris.
Carp says shoulder needs time to heal
SEATTLE -- Left fielder Mike Carp, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, said his right shoulder had become an issue both with throwing and hitting in recent days, to the point where he knew something had to be done.
Carp sprained his throwing shoulder on Opening Night in Tokyo and missed 23 games, but he never regained his expected form and was hitting just .157 with four home runs when he went back on the DL after 32 games.
"It's time to take some time off and redo this, starting over," Carp said Thursday. "It's just one of those things where I wasn't helping the team or helping myself. You can't keep running out there every night not being able to compete the way I want. I know it's probably been frustrating for them and it's definitely frustrating for me. I got so close to being myself, but something wasn't quite right."
Carp said two recent throws -- one in Anaheim when Albert Pujols took an extra base on him with a hit to left and another against the Dodgers last weekend when he couldn't get anything on the ball -- told him something wasn't right.
"Guys were starting to take bases on me and I wasn't able to hit a [cutoff] the way I wanted," he said. "That's not good for the team. You can't play that way. So it's time to sit back and get healthy and be more of the player I should be."
That goes for his offense as well, which he admits now was also affected by his shoulder.
"I wanted to say it didn't for the longest time," he said. "I thought I could make an adjustment because I know my swing so well. That's my key trait and I figured I could make an adjustment, but I never could quite do that. Everything was just a tick off and I was missing pitches I should hit. It was frustrating."
Carp hit .276 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs in 79 games last year, providing a big bat in the lineup upon his recall from Triple-A Tacoma on July 19. He notes he could still return for a similar time frame this year if he can get healthy.
"That's the plan," he said. "I've shown I can do that. If I can get rolling, hopefully I can be a good addition to the team in a couple weeks."
Lucas Luetge and Charlie Furbush were claiming bragging rights after pitchers took batting practice Thursday for a second day in a row in anticipation of next week's Interleague games at Arizona and San Diego. The two said they each hit two home runs, the only ones to clear the fence during BP.
"Lefty power," said Furbush, who played first base as well as pitched at St. Joseph's in 2005-06 before transferring to LSU. His hitting career ended there.
Shortstop Brendan Ryan got a second straight day off Thursday as manager Eric Wedge said he wanted to give Ryan time to work on some things in the batting cage as well as get a longer look at utility player Munenori Kawasaki at shortstop.
Saturday will be Fight Hunger Night at Safeco, with the Mariners and Northwest Harvest collecting non-perishable food items and donations outside the park prior to the 7:10 p.m. game against the Giants.