NEW YORK (WFAN) – Despite being the odds-on favorite to travel north after Francisco Cervelli’s foot injury, Jesus Montero is still battling for the Yankees’ backup catcher job.
New York appears unimpressed with the youngster. So much, in fact, that they gave Gustavo Molina, a non-roster backstop, a good, hard look on Thursday.
“We wanted to see Molina,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “Molina is an insurance policy. … He is also competing for the spot.”
After a hot start that had hurlers Phil Hughes and David Robertson applauding, Montero has fizzled behind the plate.
“He hasn’t played well recently,” Cashman said after Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Orioles. “He’s better than what he’s shown recently, catching wise.”
He’s also pressing with the stick. In 17 games this spring, Montero has hit just .222 with 2 doubles, 2 runs batted in and 8 strikeouts.
“He’s been struggling with the bat, and I don’t know if it’s cause-and-effect,” said Cashman. “I just know that last year he didn’t start catching well until he started hitting. And from June on, both went through the roof.”
Earlier this month, the young catcher had the scouts section buzzing in Tampa. As camp winds down, so has the air of excitement surrounding Montero.
“He’s not a natural,” one scout told the NY Daily News. “His focus, his interest level, always has to be at a high level for him to be adequate as a catcher. If he was hitting, he’d probably look a lot better back there.”
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