Jesus Montero could have been here in April. When Francisco Cervelli was on crutches in spring training, the Yankees top prospect became an early favorite to break camp as the team’s backup catcher. But he didn’t earn it. Then he went to Triple-A and put up underwhelming numbers in the first half.
“I think anytime a guy fails in the minor leagues and gets to the other side, I think it’s important,” Joe Girardi said. “I don’t want a player to fail the first time in the big leagues. I want him to have to fight through something to get to where he’s at, whether it was a long slump, or an injury, or whatever it was. I want them to have to really go through a tough experience and have to get to the other side before they get here.”
It’s a familiar idea in the minor leagues. Failure is part of the process, and it’s considered an important part of the process.
“I’m here now,” Montero said. “Now I’m ready. They think I’m ready. I’m not going to tell you three years ago I was ready, because I’m not. But now I’m ready. I want to help the team to win, and that’s it.”
Girardi acknowledged yesterday that Montero could hit his way onto the postseason roster, which means there’s at least a chance that Montero is here to stay. He’s had enough success in the minor leagues, that hitting in the big leagues has been a forgone conclusion, but Kevin Long cautioned that immediate success is not a given.
“The reason I say that is because I don’t think you’re facing Lesters and Prices and we’re about to face Romero,” Long said. “There’s none of those guys in Triple-A. Obviously it helps to have faced and had success against lefties, but these are going to be a little bit different pitchers than he’s accustomed to seeing… Right now, it was more about getting accustomed to your first couple of at-bats in the big leagues.”
So the transition begins, from potential to performance. Montero has another chance to earn his spot. He wasn’t here in April, but he could be here in October.
“There can be a chance,” Montero said. “I’ve just got to do my best over here, talk to everybody, learn from everybody over here on the team. I’ve got to do my best, that’s it.”
Associated Press photo