Jack Zduriencik met with a small group of media and acknowledged that while he was still gathering facts and information regarding the incident that took place in Boise Thursday night between Jesus Montero and Mariners cross-checker Bruce Baccala, it was clear that action had to be taken immediately.
“This incident is of the magnitude that either party should have been more under control, either party should have been more professional,” he said. “You just don’t get to this point and say that neither is to blame or who is to cast the blame. It doesn’t really matter. There is always two sides to every story. I would view this as saying both parties are wrong.”
To that end, Baccala has been sent home, his situation will be addressed internally and very shortly, according to Zduriencik. As for Montero, Zduriencik is only getting started in dealing with his situation.
“What we are going to do is we are going to separate the baseball part of Jesus Montero from the human element of Jesus Montero,” he said. “Our intent is to address Jesus’ issues. There is a history here of some things that have happened. We are very, very disappointed. I think more than anything else we have to from a humane standpoint, we have to look at Jesus Montero as a person, as a father and as a husband and how can we help Jesus Montero and his family get through this. That is our intent. Our first and foremost intent and we are in the process of doing that.”
The words “issues” and “history” jump out from what Zduriencik had to say. We know that Montero reported to spring training almost 40 pounds overweight. We know that he was suspended for his association with Biogenesis. A lesser-known incident took place in Venezuela over the offseason. The organization asked Montero, who was coming off injury and suspension, to play winter ball. Not just a month or two but nearly the full season. In early November his name disappeared from the box scores. The club was told he had been in a minor car accident and suffered a lacerated hand that required four to seven stitches. He did not return to his winter league team until the final days of December.
I asked Zduriencik if the latest incident was consistent with the history he mentioned or if there was a pattern.
“I can’t answer right now,” he said. “There have been things that have been setbacks, more than one. To say they are related, we’re going to find that out. Is this an individual incident? We will deal with this incident individually and we will see where this takes us in terms of what else has happened to Jesus in the past.”
Zduriencik made it clear that Montero, who was with Everett to get at-bats coming off injury, is finished playing baseball for the Mariners this year. He is not being sent home, however he has been asked to come to Seattle for a face to face with Zduriencik. It would appear that there are plenty of talks on the horizon.
“We will continue to do that and we have avenues we intend to go down and we will have in-depth conversations with Jesus and his family on how we can help him go on with his life,” Zduriencik said. “At the end of the day we hope Jesus Montero becomes a big league player and a good big league player. But if that is not the case we certainly hope we can help Jesus Montero grow up and be a man and be the kind of father and kind of husband that he needs to be.”