Luis Montanez

Q&A --

March 04, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

;(lines=P11.9);cl9.5;(dclead=(((4)*(clin es))+190));(adjcl=dclead/10);(psize=adjc l*138);(dcptsize=psize/10);(adj=dcptsize /33);cf21,(dcptsize),(dclead);ec8,Q,capQ;ec7,1,cap2The Chicago Cubs made shortstop Luis Montanez the third overall pick in the 2000 draft out of Coral Park High in Miami, and comparisons to Alex Rodriguez and Alex Gonzalez were instantaneous. But Montanez hasn't reached the majors, and he signed with the Orioles as a minor league free agent Nov. 6. He also changed positions, switching to the outfield.

Did you feel any pressure as the third overall pick? -- There was a lot of pressure because I was 18 and coming out of high school. I had a lot of pressure on me to prove myself. All eyes were on me when I came into camp. But as the years went on and more first-rounders show up in camps, I don't feel it anymore. I'm just one of the guys.

Why the switch to the outfield? -- In my fourth year, I wasn't getting promoted as an infielder, so I decided to try the outfield for a little bit. I was having a lot of defensive problems with throwing accuracy from the infield, so I decided to go to the outfield and see if I could relieve the pressure off my defense and do a little more offensively, and it's worked out.

Why were you having trouble throwing? -- Just mental. It got in my head that I didn't want to throw the ball away, and I'd throw the ball away.

Are you satisfied with the way your career has gone? -- Coming out of high school, my expectations were, yeah, I want to be in the major leagues in three years, and maybe they weren't realistic. But overall, I'm satisfied. I think it's been successful. I've made a lot of all-star teams, I went to the Futures Game two years ago. I've had some good years. So I'm happy with it. I'm still young. I don't feel like I need to start rushing.

Did your father, who played baseball in Puerto Rico, instill your love of the sport? -- He got me started. I was a little reluctant to start playing baseball. I didn't want to play. But he got me started and I caught on. He hit me with a baseball when I was small, in the mouth, and it kind of scared me. I didn't want to play at all. But he put me in a league when I was 11. I started late. And I just started liking it. I liked being around the guys, the camaraderie, the competition.

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