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Montero DFA'd by Cubs after comments

Chicago calls up prospect Caratini from Triple-A Iowa
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

WASHINGTON -- Miguel Montero, who criticized pitcher Jake Arrieta after Tuesday's loss to the Nationals, was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the Cubs. Montero thanked the city of Chicago and his teammates for their support via some farewell messages on Twitter.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein called Montero early Wednesday with the news, and the veteran said he wasn't surprised.

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WASHINGTON -- Miguel Montero, who criticized pitcher Jake Arrieta after Tuesday's loss to the Nationals, was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the Cubs. Montero thanked the city of Chicago and his teammates for their support via some farewell messages on Twitter.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein called Montero early Wednesday with the news, and the veteran said he wasn't surprised.

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Rogers: Epstein's swift response to Montero on point

"Not really," Montero told MLB.com. "I really thought maybe something was going to happen. I understand, I totally understand. If I'm going to take the blame and the team takes off from now, I'll feel much better. I really want to see them succeed, every single guy."

On Tuesday, the Nationals stole seven bases against Arrieta and Montero in a 6-1 win over the Cubs. Montero is 0-for-31 throwing out attempted basestealers this season, but was credited with one caught stealing on a pickoff.

"It really sucked because the stolen base goes on me," Montero said after Tuesday's game. "When you really look at it, the pitcher doesn't give me any time. It's like, 'Oh, yeah, Miggy can't throw anybody out.' Yeah, but my pitchers don't hold anybody on."

Video: CHC@WSH: Montero on allowing seven stolen bases

Montero said he talked to Arrieta after he made those comments.

"I talked to Jake last night, and I said to him, 'Jake, I apologize, I didn't mean to say what I said,'" Montero said. "I said, 'It's frustrating for me as well.' I'm as frustrated as he is. He said, 'You said what it was, it's true. I didn't do a good job holding the runners.' He agreed with me.

"We're fine," Montero said. "As long as I'm fine with him, and I'm fine with my team and my teammates -- there are some guys who are going to cry about it, but they don't want to hear the truth sometimes. It is what it is. I'm grateful for this time with the Cubs. Other than that, life continues."

Montero said goodbye in a series of posts on Twitter: "To the city of Chicago, Dear fans, today I say goodbye to the greatest fans. I want to thank you for your support."

Tweet from @miggymont26: To the city of ChicagoDear fans, today I say goodbye to the greatest fans. I want to thank you for the support.

"It was an awesome ride. Winning the World Series was simply fantastic. Thank you to my teammates -- good luck to everyone of you."

"Thank you also to each staff member, it was an honor to play for the Chicago Cubs organization. Chicago will always be in my heart."

And Montero closed on Twitter with: "#WeAreGood."

In addition to his comments Tuesday, Montero had made questionable comments about his playing time shortly after the Cubs won the World Series last year. During an interview Wednesday morning on Chicago radio station ESPN 1000, first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Montero's comments were "frustrating."

Rizzo reacts to Montero's comments

"Whenever anyone steals seven bases, Miggy gets frustrated," Rizzo said. "It's the second time barking in the media and not going to his teammates. As a veteran like he is, you'd think he'd make smart decisions about it."

Rizzo didn't know about Montero's comments on Tuesday until he got back to the team hotel.

"We win as a team, we lose as a team," Rizzo said. "When you start pointing fingers, that just labels you as a selfish player. I disagree. I think we have another catcher [in Willson Contreras] who throws out anyone who steals, and he has Jon Lester who doesn't [throw] over, that's no secret. I think going to the media with things like that, I don't think it's very professional."

In three seasons with the Cubs, Montero posted a .242 batting average. He was delegated to backup last year with the arrival of Contreras, and had started 28 games this year while Contreras started 49. Contreras has had 47 stolen-base attempts against him this year while logging more than twice as many innings (468 to 215) as Montero behind the plate. Montero has thrown out just one runner of 32, while Contreras has thrown out 16.

Montero also thanked Epstein during their conversation on Wednesday.

"I respect Theo. He's a great leader, a great guy, and I was grateful for him to bring me on board and win a championship together," Montero said. "I wished him the best and said I was sorry it had to end up this way, but it is what it is."

Montero was having a good season offensively, as his .805 OPS is his highest since 2012 (though in only 98 at-bats), but he is not as quick as he once was behind the plate, according to Statcast™. His average pop time to second on stolen-base attempts is 2.11 seconds, compared to the MLB average of 2.00 seconds. For comparison, Contreras has a 1.93 average pop time to second (the league leader is the Padres' Austin Hedges with 1.88 seconds).

Arrieta has allowed 65 stolen bases since the start of 2015. That's second most in MLB behind only teammate Lester (80). There have been just 11 players caught stealing against Arrieta in that time, and that 85.5 percent success rate is fifth highest in MLB (minimum 300 innings).

The Cubs called up catcher Victor Caratini -- the club's No. 11 prospect -- from Triple-A Iowa. The 23-year-old is batting .343 in 68 games with Iowa.

"He's going to be good," Montero said of Caratini, whom he worked with in Spring Training. "He's a good addition for the team. He's a good player, good kid. I'm happy for him to get the shot, the opportunity."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

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