The Journey Back to the Show for Luke Montz
By Sean Davis
Luke Montz was one of the many non-roster invitees in camp with the Athletics during Spring Training this year, and like many others he never really had a realistic chance at making the Opening Day roster in Oakland. For that matter, the chances of him doing anything but toiling away in Triple A with the Sacramento River Cats in 2013 were very high. But, in a surprising move earlier today, Montz got the call to come to Oakland and help fill a void created by the injury to Coco Crisp that landed him on the 15 day DL. How exactly the presence of Luke Montz helps replace Coco Crisp is something I have yet to figure out. Many were left scratching their heads, as the expectation was that Shane Peterson or Michael Taylor would come back to Oakland. But nevertheless, Montz was the one who got the call.
February 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Luke Montz (71) poses for a picture during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
What is most noteworthy about the fact that Montz was called up, was the fact that it was the first time it happened for him since the 2008 season. Montz got to play in 10 games in September of the 2008 season, and in his 26 plate appearances he hit .143/.308/.286 with a home run and 3 RBI. The stats are inconsequential though in this case since they are so long ago and such a small sample size. But those two facts illustrate just how big this is for Luke.
Since being drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 17th round of the 2003 draft (who later became the Washington Nationals to those uninformed), those 10 games were the only MLB experience Luke Montz had accrued. He has a career .237/.334/.435 slash line over 3,629 plate appearances in 940 games over 11 seasons in the minor leagues with 144 minor league home runs to his name. He is the essence of a career minor leaguer. In Sacramento though he is hitting the ball, with a .283/.406/.679 line with 5 home runs and 12 runs driven in over his first 64 plate appearances. He’s a big guy, at 6’1″ and 230 LBS and can hit for some power from the right side. His ability to catch, and play first base gives the team a little flexibility in possibly starting both John Jaso and Derek Norris in the same lineup without having to worry about losing the DH spot should the catcher get injured. With the A’s playing a number of games in a row starting Friday, and the expectation of facing a number of left handed starters, the addition of Montz makes sense.
His presence did pay dividends this afternoon in the loss to the Los Angeles Angels, he contributed an RBI double in the Athletics comeback attempt that ultimately fell short. He was to come up to bat in the 9th inning with two runners on, but was lifted in favor of Eric Sogard (who popped out to end the game). Montz now gets to travel with the Athletics to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees, which has to be a huge thrill for the 29 year old. His time in Oakland for now may not be long, as Crisp is expected back once his 15 days is up, Luke Montz has an opportunity to make a big impression on the big club that will keep him in the mix to play for the Athletics more in 2013.