06/10/12 12:03 AM ET
Montero cherishes his role in Mariners' no-no
By Josh Liebeskind / MLB.com
The Mariners used six pitchers to no-hit the Dodgers on Friday night and Montero caught the entire game, realizing one of his boyhood dreams. He had printed out game pictures from the night before and was having his teammates autograph them as keepsakes.
As happy and calm as he was Saturday, quite the opposite was the case during the late stages of the Mariners' historic performance Friday.
"I was nervous on the last pitch, I wanted the no-hitter," Montero said. "I didn't know what to call that pitch. I was looking at the dugout, I was looking at [pitching coach] Carl Willis to see what was going on, and he didn't tell me anything. I was like, 'OK, let's go with this.'"
Montero, who had called the entire game, said he was praying through the final out. Of course, that last pitch turned out perfectly for the Mariners, as Andre Ethier grounded out to second to end the contest.
But Montero was also set on turning the page to Saturday's game, as well as the rest of the season. That desire was echoed by manager Eric Wedge.
"Last night was last night and today is today," Wedge said. "So I'm just focused on today right now and making sure we're prepared to play."
MRI shows groin strain not serious for Millwood
SEATTLE -- Kevin Millwood, who left Friday's no-hitter after six innings because of a mild right groin strain, had an MRI Saturday that showed no significant damage. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Millwood would be monitored day by day.
"We've got an off-day on Monday to work with, so we're going to see how he feels as he works back -- he even played catch today -- so we'll just see how it works as we work through the week," Wedge said.
With the day off on Monday, Wedge said he could push back Millwood's next start a few days without having to make any changes in the rotation.
Teammates expressed disappointment that Millwood's bid for a second career no-hitter was cut short due to injury, but Wedge knew the veteran wouldn't have exited the game if something wasn't truly wrong.
"I knew it was something considerable for him to come out of the game," Wedge said. "When you're talking about your leg, in particular from a pitching standpoint, it's real. I think he was smart enough not to push it any further, something to jeopardize him losing more time. Hopefully we dodged a bullet. We'll find out soon.
"It's nothing I didn't already know because that's who he is. He's the consummate team player. He's not going to put himself ahead of the team. He understands what it means to be a pro, to be a good teammate, to respect the game. The two things that we've always talked about being non-negotiable here are respecting the game and being a good teammate, and he's at the top of the list on both of those."
Millwood said he first felt something on the second-to-last pitch in the sixth inning. He was able to strike out Tony Gwynn with the next offering but said he was lucky not to have to stay out there longer. After having his leg wrapped during the home half of the sixth, Millwood tried to continue but walked off the field after throwing just one warm-up pitch.
Mariners reach deals with pair of Draft picks
SEATTLE -- The Mariners agreed to terms with two players recently selected in the First-Year Player Draft. Fourth-round pick Patrick Kivlehan and seventh-round pick Taylor Ard both were at Safeco Field on Saturday and were planning on signing later in the day.
"It's been kind of a whirlwind," said Kivlehan, a former Rutgers third baseman. "I got the call on, I think it was Thursday mid-afternoon, and I'm flying Friday morning. So I had to pack and everything and got here early yesterday morning. Came over here, did everything, saw the game, saw a no-hitter, so it's been a crazy, crazy couple of days."
It is the New Jersey native's first time to the Pacific Northwest, and his first night he was able to witness his first no-hitter. Saturday morning, Kivlehan was able to walk through the Mariners' clubhouse and met Jesus Montero, whom he had seen play while the catcher was with the Yankees last season.
Kivlehan decided to put his baseball career on pause while he pursued football at Rutgers. After four years as a backup defensive back and special teams player, Kivlehan tried out for the Scarlet Knights' baseball team. As a third baseman, Kivlehan was the Big East Player of the Year, winning the conference's triple crown, becoming the first player to ever do so.
Ard, a first baseman from Washington State, was drafted for the third time. The Mariners like the power potential Ard brings to the plate. As a junior this season, Ard hit .332 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs.
Both Ard and Kivlehan will report to the Everett AquaSox, the Mariners' Class A short-season affiliate.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge usually stacks the lineup with right-handers when facing a left-handed starter. Saturday against reigning National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw was no different.
"We're left-handed heavy to begin with, so when we face a left-handed starting pitcher, we've got to switch it up," he said. "Just have a better chance to compete, just have a little better balance in our lineup."
Seattle's Major League club wasn't the only one in the organization to put forth outstanding pitching efforts on Friday. Erasmo Ramirez took a no-hitter of his own through 7 2/3 innings for Triple-A Tacoma, while Double-A starter Danny Hultzen threw eight innings of two-hit ball.
Left-handed relievers Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge have combined to limit left-handed batters to a .102 average with 30 strikeouts.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.