There had to be some disappointment for Jesus Montero and Austin Romine this afternoon. A few weeks ago, it seemed all but certain that one of them would break camp on the big league roster. Today they were both sent to the minor leagues, to the exact same level they were at last year.
“Romine and me, we’re not going to the big leagues right now,” Montero said. “But we’re thinking about playing in the big leagues one day, and we’re waiting for the opportunity.”
There must have been disappointment, both catching prospects kept it well hidden. They talked about taking the assignment and making the most of it. They talked about getting better. They talked about opening some eyes this spring and waiting for opportunities this summer.
“I accomplished what I wanted to do when I came here this spring,” Romine said. “I wanted to make it as tough a decision as I possibly could. I played as hard as I could when I got in the game, and I showed them that I could catch. I got accomplished what I wanted to get accomplished.”
The Yankees believe in both of them. They are legitimately two of the top catching prospects in baseball, and it’s not out of the question that at least one of them could be in New York at some point this season. Neither played especially well this spring, but both showed flashes of what the Yankees like about them. At their ages — Romine is 22, Montero is 21 — a return to Double-A and Triple-A isn’t really a setback.
Joe Girardi said he couldn’t be sure whether a strong showing from either would have been enough to make the roster. Earlier this spring Girardi said a young catcher develop quite a bit as a major league backup, but today he said that opinion seemed to change the more the Yankees talked about it. They weren’t sure a backup role made much sense for players this young, especially considering they’ve each caught a full season only once.
“I’ll have more (opportunities) to come in the future,” Montero said. “That’s the way I think. I have to keep working hard on the little things that I have to work on, keep doing well and try to do my best. I’ll wait for the opportunity to be in the big leagues and show them I can play there.”
Associated Press photo of Montero