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Montero to get looks at third base

Montero to get looks at third base

PHOENIX -- As they try to figure out how to construct their roster for 2009, the D-backs would like to get catcher Miguel Montero some playing time at third base during the offseason.

Montero has been taking grounders at third during batting practice for a while and has shown enough to intrigue the organization.

"It's worth exploration," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said.

Montero had planned on playing winter ball in his native Venezuela as a way of getting more at-bats. Playing behind catcher Chris Snyder limited Montero's at-bats to 178 this year. If they can't get him some reps at third during winter ball, the D-backs may try to get him involved in some Arizona Fall League games.

"There's a lot of procedural stuff we have to get through, but, yes, someway, somehow we'd like to get him some exposure at third," Byrnes said.

Montero's bat has long shown promise. Of his 45 hits this year, 20 have gone for extra bases.

"He can hit," Byrnes said. "He's a left-handed hitter who can hit. Not that he can't catch; it's just that Chris Snyder has done a very good job."

Byrnes cautioned against reading too much into adding third base to Montero's repertoire. But if Montero is able to play the position, it could help solve the club's second-base issue for next year. It would give the team the option to move Mark Reynolds from third to second, at least at times.

"Could we see Montero some at third, Reynolds some at second?" Byrnes said. "It's possible."

Montero views himself as a catcher, but he is for the idea of playing some third if it's just to add to his versatility and a tool to get him more at-bats.

"If it's like that, yeah, then I would do my best," Montero said. "I've been [taking grounders] for fun, but if they want me to work in winter ball, I would do that."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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