Montero's quality at-bat impresses Wedge

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Through five games and 14 at-bats entering Monday, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero has started his spring as hot as anybody, totaling seven hits including four for extra bases. According to manager Eric Wedge, however, one of his plate appearances so far stands above the rest.

Facing Rangers right-hander Justin Grimm on Sunday, Montero battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before launching a home run to center field. He faced two strikes early in the count, but fought off four straight foul balls to get the pitch he wanted.

"That's the way he needs to play," Wedge said. "He's sticking his nose in there offensively and battling through ABs. That at-bat he had is probably the best at-bat I've ever seen him have. Against a guy throwing pretty good with good stuff. He ended up winning it in the end, and winning it in a big way."

Wedge has liked Montero's start to the spring defensively as well.

"You talk about the position that he's playing and the responsibilities and priorities that go along with that," Wedge said. "He's right in the middle of understanding it."

The 23-year-old hit .260 last season in 135 games for the Mariners while throwing out just 11 of 65 on the bases.