02/17/12 4:45 PM EST
Montero working hard behind the plate
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Montero, 22, will likely play catcher several games a week and designated hitter the rest of the time as the Mariners look to get his potent bat in the lineup. There have been questions about whether he's ready to be a Major League catcher, but manager Eric Wedge -- himself a former backstop -- says so far, so good.
"I watch him catch and work the drills and do everything," Wedge said Friday after the Mariners wrapped up the pitchers and catchers portion of camp. "He's going to continue to work and get better. But he's looked well so far.
"There are always things you feel you can help a young player with and he's no different. Because we're not in a hurry with it, [catching and third-base coach] Jeff Datz will do a fantastic job with it and they'll develop that bond and working relationship day to day. He's handling himself well."
Montero played 18 games with the Yankees last year, mostly at DH, and hit .328 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 61 at-bats. He's taken things in this week and gotten more comfortable with each day.
"I'm just trying to get to know everybody," Montero said. "It's just getting used to this organization, having fun and playing baseball."
Though live batting practice against pitchers won't begin until full-squad workouts this weekend, Montero has done some hitting against coaches. And it's pretty clear the youngster is comfortable with a bat in his hands.
"He has an approach up there," Wedge said. "He works hard to stay up the middle and go the other way. He picks his spots to turn and burn. He has a pretty good idea for a young man what he's trying to do.
"Everything you do practice-wise should be with a purpose and it looks like he's got a pretty good idea at home plate what he's trying to do up there."
Eager Mariners have full squad in camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The last of the Mariners position players arrived in camp Friday, with all due for physicals before hitting the field on Saturday for the first full-squad workout.
Many of the players have been in camp early to work on their own, but the last group -- including outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Casper Wells and infielders Carlos Guillen and Luis Rodriguez -- showed up Friday.
The last player to arrive was Ichiro Suzuki, who pulled into the Mariners' parking lot in a black Range Rover at 3:15 p.m. MT.
Mariners pitchers wrapped up their final bullpen sessions on Friday, with everyone except veteran left-hander George Sherrill having thrown three times this week. They'll get Saturday off from throwing, then start live batting practice to hitters on Sunday.
"I am ready for the position players to get out there, too, get the full squad and get that ball rolling," manager Eric Wedge said. "Tomorrow will be a big day to get everybody out there, make introductions and set tone for what we expect this year and what they can expect."
Wedge opened some eyes last year with his initial team meeting, unleashing some of the passion and energy that he brings. He said it's important to let players know what is expected of them.
"There's only one first day," he said. "It's just the beginning, but it's important to get started off in the right manner. It's very evident, the difference between last year and this year already. A big part of that was it was my first year last year and not knowing everybody and people not knowing me. There was a lot more wondering in just what to expect.
"I can say now, without a doubt, that they understand what the program is and what's expected of them. Now it's just about reiterating that and talking more about where we are now and what's expected this spring."
Wedge has fond memories of Carter
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge, a former catcher himself, has fond memories of Gary Carter from growing up watching the Hall of Famer in his prime.
Wedge said he had a poster of Carter among several on his wall as a kid and expressed sadness at the passing of the 11-time All-Star, who died of brain cancer Thursday at 57.
Wedge said he met Carter a few times and remembers talking with him in Florida shortly after he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
"I grew up loving catchers," said Wedge, who played four seasons in the Majors with the Red Sox and Rockies from 1991-94. "He was one of the guys I had on my wall. I had a poster of him as well as a few others, one of whom is with us [the Mariners], Teddy Simmons. And the [Johnny] Benches and [Carlton] Fisks and [Thurman] Munsons. It's quite a loss."
Carter played from 1974-92, starting his career when Wedge was a 6-year-old in Fort Wayne, Ind., and he left an impression.
"He loved playing the game," Wedge said. "He had fun playing the game. He was a helluva catcher and a leader, too. It was those guys, Bench led the way and then you had Fisk and Munson. But right behind them was Carter coming in the mid-'70s and he took it into the '80s with regard to catchers that hit.
"It was somewhat of a rarity, a guy that could play every day and lead and could catch, too. He was one of the best of all time."