Montero needs a break, League pinpoints his problem

May 18, 2012, 7:06 PM | Updated: May 20, 2012, 7:58 pm

By Shannon Drayer


Greetings from Coors Field where you sometime catch
yourself forgetting that you are not at Safeco. There are
a lot of similarities except of course, that this is a
hitter’s park. My favorite feature has to be the Toyota
Tundra on a platform above and beyond the left field
stands. Behind it is a wall with the yellow line and 485
marked on it. I would love to see one go flying over that.

No surprises in the lineup Friday. The general feeling
is we could see a change soon, but tonight is not the
night. Jesus Montero is sitting for a second straight
game. He came in to pinch hit Thursday night and had two
miserable at bats flailing wildly at pitches far out of
the zone. Eric Wedge noted that and his previous game when
making out today’s lineup with John Jaso at catcher.

“He needs it,” Wedge said of Montero’s day off. “We’ve
talked about it when there was all of the business early
on about him playing every day, he’s just not ready to
play every day. We’re going to get him in there as much as
we can, but he has got a lot to process mentally and we
are asking a lot of him.”

As for the uncharacteristic at bats we have seen in the
last few days, Wedge said they indicated it was time to
give him a break.

“That’s a red flag,” he said. “It just tells you that
mentally he is not in a place that he needs to be right
now which is not uncommon for a young player, especially a
young player that you have given a lot of responsibility
to, that you have thrown in the middle of the lineup
because he has done a nice job for you. To give him a
couple of days off now I think is a healthy thing to do.”

So Jaso is in today and we could soon see there Miguel
Olivo who arrived in Denver at about 4:00 today. Olivo
went through his regular pregame routine with the team,
stretching, taking batting practice and catching in the
bullpen. He will do the same the next two days and most
likely be sent out on a short rehab assignment where he
will alternate catching and dh’ing. If all goes well I
would anticipate having him back for the next roadtrip.

One other order of business today was to check in on
Brandon League after his disastrous outing where he walked
three batters in an inning en route to the Mariners loss
Thursday in Cleveland.

“He was just out of sync,” Wedge said. “His delivery
was out of sync, he just was not able to find it. He just
wasn’t himself yesterday.”

League said after the game that he was sure his lack of
command of the fastball was a mechanical issue and that he
would waste no time getting the video tape and figuring it
out. According to Carl Willis he did just that and the two
of them were able to isolate a mechanical issue that they
worked on today.

The strange thing about League’s 11th inning meltdown
is that it came nearly a year to the day that the same
thing happened last year. On May 8th he gave up three runs
in the tenth inning of a tie game in Chicago. He blew
saves in his next three outings including a game where he
gave up three runs in the ninth in Cleveland.

The problem then was that he was throwing his fastball
too much. Carl Willis wanted League to not only mix in the
splitter more but to throw his slider as well to give the
hitter a different look. Thursday we saw League throw
primarily fastballs. We also saw him throw a splitter in
the dirt that Jaso could not block. I asked League why he
stuck with the fastball that night and he told me that he
couldn’t throw the breaking ball until he was ahead in the

Willis pointed out that it was understandable that he
wouldn’t chance throwing the splitter with the bases
loaded but that again, that would be a good place to throw
the slider. I think in addition to the mechanical fix we
may see League mix his pitches a little more. Command,
particularly with his first batter faced has been more of
the issue but Willis would like to see him use all of his

That’s it for now. We are in the fifth inning and
Millwood has something rather interesting going on right

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Montero needs a break, League pinpoints his problem