After playing in 135 games in his first season with the Mariners in 2012, Montero played only 29 games in 2013 due to injuries and a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. He then showed up to spring training in 2014 40 pounds overweight.
In August 2014 while on a rehab assignment, Montero went after a Mariners scout with a bat after the scout taunted him with an ice cream sandwich. Montero was suspended for the rest of the season and the scout’s contract was not renewed.
Montero reported to spring training this year looking considerably slimmer and batted .332 with 15 home runs, 12 doubles and five triples in 84 Triple A games this season. He batted .545 with nine extra-base hits in his last 11 games.
Montero came up as a catcher and caught in roughly half of the games he played in the majors, though he has been playing almost exclusively at first base in the minors.
The Mariners are among the worst offensive teams in baseball, with a major-league low .231 team batting average. They have scored the fourth-fewest runs per game this season. Last month, the team re-assigned hitting coach Howard Johnson to the minor leagues and hired franchise legend Edgar Martinez as his replacement.
- Dan Gartland