Some interesting quotes from, and about, the Yankees (low) Class A (Charleston) catching platoon of Jesus Montero and Austin Romine – via the recent print edition of Baseball America:
“Being my first year, I think [alternating days between catching and designated hitter is] a good thing,” said the 19-year-old Romine, who suffered a lower body injury in late April but was expected to return to the lineup in mid-May. “The Yankees didn’t want to overwork me because it is a lot of games to catch coming right out of high school. It’s a lot easier to give it your all when you do it every other day. I want to be an everyday catcher, but I realize I have to start somewhere.”
“I’m concentrating more on my catching than on my hitting and working hard with the coaches in order to become a better all-around catcher,” Montero said through an interpreter, coach Henry Mercedes. “I’m working on everything because you can never be too good back there.”
“If you take their ages into account, it’s pretty amazing what they’ve done so far,” said [Torre] Tyson, who is in his second season as Charleston’s manager. “We haven’t seen Austin as much, and he has some stuff to prove. As far as Jesus is concerned, I’m shocked. The first five or six days, I thought he was hot. After about 25 days, I thought, ‘O.K., maybe he’s good.’ He’s been impressive. Even on days when he’s not feeling it, he always seems to come up with a clutch hit for us. I wish I could catch him 140 games, but that’s not a good thing for someone who’s 18 years old.”
“When I saw [Jesus] a year ago, I thought there was no hope of him even catching A ball,” Tyson said. “To see how far he’s come from then to now with the instruction he’s received makes me think he can catch in the big leagues.”
“Hopefully [Jesus] will stick with the regimen they’ve set up,” Tyson said. “If so, he’ll develop into a beast. He doesn’t have to hit a ball good to hit it out of the park. That’s something I haven’t seen at this level in a long time.”
“The first thing that strikes me [about Austin] is his arm strength,” Tyson said. “Once he figures out he can be quicker with his feet and his overall body instead of trying to rely on throwing it 100 miles an hour, you’re going to see some impressive throws behind the plate.”
Because of his bat, I expect Jesus Montero to move quicker through the Yankees system. Assuming all goes well, you may see him in the Bronx come 2011 or 2012. Austin Romine may take longer – again, assuming all goes well, he’ll probably be ready for the bigs around 2013. When you consider this, and the fact that Jorge Posada’s contract is up after 2011, it suggests that New York is going to need someone, just for a short while, to bridge the gap between Posada being the Yankees full-time catcher and either Montero or Romine taking over (on a full-time basis).