Montero joins Toronto, moves past Cubs exit

With Maile on DL, veteran to back up Martin, offer late-game PH option

July 4th, 2017

NEW YORK -- would like to put his controversial exit from the Cubs in the past and instead focus on the second chance he has received from the Blue Jays.

Montero was unceremoniously sent packing from Chicago earlier this week after he publicly criticized 's ability to contain the running game. The contentious comments resulted in Montero being designated for assignment and eventually led to a trade involving the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old Montero has told reporters that he's cleared the air with Arrieta and Cubs manager Joe Maddon, but would rather focus on the task at hand with his new team. Montero reported to the Blue Jays on Tuesday morning, while backup catcher was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, opening up room on the active roster.

"It wasn't the perfect departure," Montero said. "But it is what it is. I live in the moment, and I don't really look back at the past right now. It happened already; it's over. I'm just worried about today, and whatever happened, happened. It's just time to forget. I'm just looking forward for my new team and to do the best."

Montero's initial comments followed a recent game against the Nationals, who stole seven bases off the catcher. In 44 games this season, Montero has thrown out just one baserunner in 32 attempts. Montero was hit with a series of questions after that game about his performance, which prompted this response:

"It really sucked, because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn't give me any time," Montero said. "So it's just like, 'Yeah, OK, Miggy can't throw nobody out,' but my pitcher doesn't hold anybody on."

The Cubs reacted quickly to the news by removing Montero from their active roster and opening trade talks. Toronto became interested with an eye toward improving the offensive production from its bench. Maile has spent most of the year as the Blue Jays' backup catcher, but he has just 12 hits in 99 at-bats this season. Montero has always been known for his bat, with a career .758 OPS over 12 big league seasons.

Toronto has yet to figure out exactly how it will use Montero, but will continue to see the bulk of the time behind the plate. Montero will receive occasional starts at catcher and also provide manager John Gibbons with a late-inning pinch-hitter, which is a luxury the Blue Jays did not have for most of this season.

"I'm very emotional because I care," Montero said. "I care for the team and every single guy on the field, and I want to win. I hate losing. I guess that's who I am."

Smith likely out until after All-Star break

Right-hander Joe Smith is no longer expected to return before the All-Star break. Smith has been out since June 14 with soreness in his right shoulder, and initially the Blue Jays hoped he would be back for this weekend's series vs. the Astros. It now seems as though the organization will wait until after the break before bringing Smith back.

Smith has been playing catch for the last week or so, but he has yet to begin throwing off a mound. That is expected to happen relatively soon, but with the first half ending Sunday, the Blue Jays did not want to rush him.

"I don't know. We're getting to the point it may make some sense to take it through the break," Gibbons said. "It would be an extra four days, but he's feeling [a heck of] a lot better. I know that."