The Yankees have certainly stressed player development in recent years, but that development doesn’t have to happen at the minor league level. For a player like Jesus Montero — who’s second half was terrific last season in Triple-A — the next step could be a backup job in New York. Girardi said not to count out the possibility.
“I think the way you look at it is two-fold,” Girardi said. “Is he ready to play up here, and can he help you win games? If those two things line up, then there’s a pretty good chance we’ll take that player.”
How far has Montero come defensively?
“He, like some of these pitchers, has made great strides from what I’ve seen,” Girardi said. “He just looks so much more comfortable back there when you see him sitting, whether there’s a runner on or not a runner on. Keeping the ball in the zone, he’s improved a lot. His throwing has gotten better.
“This is a kid that is a big kid. This is a large man catching, and it’s not always so easy to be a smaller package. But physically he’s gotten to where he can be a pretty small package with his flexibility and all of those things that it takes. It’s going to happen.”
• I already mentioned that Russell Martin probably won’t catch on Saturday, but here’s Girardi explaining the situation: “I don’t think he’s quite ready to go, and we’re not going to rush him. You’ll see him do drills and do some other things, but he still talks about, (the knee) doesn’t feel quite the same as it did before… I told him, I want to know when you’re 100 percent, because I don’t want to set back with him. When we’re able to put him in there, I want him to be able to go.”
• Girardi guessed maybe three or four days before Martin is ready to catch in a game. He caught live BP today. “That would be my hope that’s all it is,” Girardi said. “But if it takes more, it takes more.”
• Without Martin, Girardi said he’s not sure who will start at catcher on Saturday. “I’ll talk to Tony (Pena) about how we’re going to do it,” Girardi said. “Thursday, I’ll try to make up 3-4 lineups for the next four days.”
• When will Girardi put Jorge Posada at catcher in a game? “I don’t know if I will this spring,” Girardi said. “We’ll jst see how that goes, how the competitions are going.”
• Posada is supposed to catch a bullpen tomorrow. It will be the first time he’s caught a bullpen this spring.
Associated Press photos of Montero and Martin