via MLB.com | The Yankees have been keeping a close eye upon the progress of catcher Jesus Montero for years, and his first big league callup could finally be right around the corner.
Montero, rated the Yankees’ top prospect and No. 6 overall in baseball by MLB.com, was batting .289 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre entering play on Sunday.
The club has been considering summoning Montero, 21, to the big leagues before rosters expand on Sept. 1. That move appears more likely with Sunday’s decision to remove Jorge Posada from the regular designated-hitter role.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday that calling up young players like Montero in the middle of a pennant race is “not something that we’re afraid to do,” citing pitcher Ivan Nova and infielder Eduardo Nunez as recent examples.
Girardi said that Montero could “probably” hold his own defensively in the big leagues but said he was “not sure” the Yankees would want Montero serving as the backup catcher now, considering his complete lack of big league experience.
“The one thing about bringing up someone that is 21 years old — trying to learn a new staff in the middle of a season is not easy,” Girardi said. “That’s more of a concern about bringing in a new catcher than if he’s ready to catch at this level.”
Montero appeared to be a front-runner for the backup catcher’s job in Spring Training when Francisco Cervelli went down to injury, but he pressed and eventually lost the race to journeyman Gustavo Molina.
The Yankees, currently carrying six starters, will eventually pare their roster down from 13 pitchers, and a corresponding move could involve Montero.