Yankees Youngster Jesus Montero Making Strong Case For Postseason Role

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Jesus gathered a throng of new believers on Monday.

Jesus Montero, that is.

The Yankees’ 21-year-old catching prospect, vital in an 11-10 win over the Orioles, reached across the plate and delivered a 93 mph pitch about a dozen rows deep into the right-field seats for his first major league home run, a tiebreaking solo shot in the fifth.

A Labor Day crowd of 45,069 at Yankee Stadium coaxed him out for a curtain call.

“They were all yelling for me to get out there,” said Montero. “(Jorge) Posada especially said, ‘Say hi to them.'”

Two innings later, he leaned for a 94 mph pitch on the outside corner and drove it 10 rows into those same right-field seats, a little bit more toward the foul line. He had another opposite-field homer, a two-run shot.

Curtain call No. 2 followed.

“I was dreaming of that before,” Montero said. “I was always telling myself before, ‘One day, I’m going to be that guy.'”

Four games into his big league career, Montero has made quite an impression. Since his debut at Boston last Thursday, he’s batting .385 (5 for 13) with five runs and the three RBIs.

“You don’t get too giddy on one game and you don’t get too down on another game,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You’re going to watch him over a period of time.”

With Posada hitting .100 against lefties, Montero could play himself into a part-time designated hitter role during the playoffs, at the very least. While Montero projects as the Yankees’ backstop of the future, Girardi is reluctant to put him behind the plate this year because he hasn’t caught the New York pitching staff since spring training.

After this, pitchers will be on the lookout for Montero.

“He might have to have a little quick adjustment after this game today,” said the Yankees’ Andruw Jones, who boosted his own prominence at old Yankee Stadium with a pair of homers in the 1996 World Series opener.

New York increased its AL East lead to 2½ games over second-place Boston, the Yankees’ largest margin since before play on July 3. New York has finished first in 38 of 42 seasons when it led on Labor Day, according to STATS LLC.

Girardi said it was too early to discuss Montero’s potential postseason role. With mother Cristina and girlfriend Taneth on hand, Montero just wanted to savor the moment. The Yankees even arranged for him to get both balls back.

“I showed a little bit to the fans, to the people. Now there’s more to come,” said Montero, who had 18 homers this year at Triple-A. “I hope everything keeps going good. I’m not going to say tomorrow I’m going to hit two home runs again, but I’m going to try to.”

Are you a now believer in Montero? Let us know in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Al B.

    Montero joined the Yankees on Sept 1.
    Don’t you have to have to be with the team on Aug 31 to be eligible for the post season roster??

    • FYI

      Each Major League Baseball team maintains both a 25-man roster and a 40-man roster of players. Players on the 25-man roster are eligible to play in official major league games throughout the season.

      The 40-man roster includes the players on the 25-man roster plus as many as 15 players who are either on the team’s 7- or 15-day disabled list (see below), who are on paternity leave for up to 3 days, or who are in the team’s minor league system.

      From September 1 through the end of the regular season, any player on the 40-man roster (also referred to as the “expanded roster”) is eligible to play in an official regular season game. Many young players make their Major League debuts in this way, as “September call-ups.”

      To be eligible for a team’s playoff roster a player must be on any of the following: (a) the 25 man active roster, (b) the disabled list, (c) the bereavement list, or (d) the suspended list as of August 31 at midnight[citation needed].

      The only exception is that a player on the 60-day disabled list may be replaced by another player from the team’s 40-man roster (as of August 31) who plays the same position (i.e. position player for position player, or pitcher for pitcher), with the approval of the commissioner of baseball.

      So in other words. Montero is eligible to play in the post season.

  • http://age10fanatics.wordpress.com eitanzev

    I think he will become a very good player in the future.

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