More on Jesus Montero
New Mariners catcher Jesus Montero had a conference call this afternoon with the media. Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik was also on the line. You can listen to Zduriencik’s opening comments from the conference call.
Montero was asked about the delay in finalizing the trade, which was complicated by last week’s Seattle snow and ice storms. Montero related a “rough week trying to get to Seattle. But I finally made it and I’m very happy to be here.”
During his time with the Yankees after a September 1 call-up, Montero says he learned a lot from former Mariner and now former Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez. “He told me to go to the cage. He told me he’d fine me $100 a day if I didn’t go. So I started going to the cage and learning my routine. I learned a lot from A-Rod.”
On hearing that he’d been traded:
“They (the Yankees) called me at my dad’s birthday party and I was in shock because I was always told it wasn’t going to happen. But my family is really happy. This is a new opportunity for my life and my career. I just want to win every day.”
Montero, whose English is quite good, was asked about the difficulty of working with a pitcher who speaks Japanese (Hisashi Iwakuma, signed as a free agent on January 5th). Montero said that he had experience with that last season at AAA when he caught Kei Igawa. He said they had to come up with hand signs to communicate, but with the help of an interpreter, they worked out a system.
Montero said that he doesn’t know fellow countryman Felix Hernandez well, but Felix is, of course, a superstar back home, and he’s looking forward to having the chance to get to know him for “many years to come.”
Asked what the people of Venezuela know about Seattle and the Mariners, Montero responded that the Mariners are popular because of Felix and Franklin Gutierrez. And now with Montero on the team, he commented that the Mariners will be even more well-known back home “because we’re going to win.”