Jesus Montero is just 3-for-23 on this road trip, with nine strikeouts, and his average has dropped to .244. Manager Eric Wedge doesn’t like what he’s seeing at the plate, so Montero was the odd man out of the lineup in this National League game without a designated hitter. It’s the second game in a row he’s not started.
“He needs it,” Wedge said bluntly. “We’ve talked about it. When there was all the business early on about him playing every day – he’s just not ready to play every day. We’re going to get him in there as much as we can. He has a lot to process mentally. We’re asking a lot of him. We don’t have the DH spot available, and he needs a couple days off behind the plate.”
Montero had some particularly poor swings in his last two games.
“That’s a red flag,” Wedge said. “It tells you mentally he’s not in a place he needs to be right now, which is not uncommon for a young player. Especially a young player you’ve given a lot of responsibility to, and thrown into the middle of the lineup, because he’s done a nice job for you. To give him a couple days off, I think, is a healthy thing for him right now. We all know he’s going to be a heck of a player. He has a lot to learn, and a lot he has to do day to day to get to that point.”
Miguel Olivo, meanwhile, flew into Denver today and was in uniform, working out with the team. He’s been on the disabled list with a strained right groin since May 1, and though he’s eligible to come off, it’s not going to happen yet. The Mariners just wanted to get a look at his progess.
“I feel good,” said Olivo. “I don’t feel anything (from the injury). I worked with Tacoma for two days, I caught three bullpens. I worked out in Seattle, running bases, and I don’t feel anything. I’ve done running, throwing, hitting, catching.”
I asked him if he was close to being ready to return. “Close? I’m ready,” he replied. “But I’m not the manager or general manager. Whatever they say, I do.”
Wedge said Olivo didn’t lobby today to be activated. “He did that on the phone,” he explained. “He’s going to go through everything here in the next couple of days. I’m assuming everything will go well, and we’ll get him out (on a rehab assignment), have him go back and forth between catching and DHing for a short period of time, and we’ll get him back up here. He feels good, though.”
Olivo admits he’s frustrated by the Mariner struggles.
“That’s my team, man. I have feeling for the team. Those guys are my friends. I hope I bring good luck for them. I will.”