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Mariners shut down Jesus Montero so he can focus on 'non-baseball issues'

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew
Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Indians
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CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: Catcher Jesus Montero #63 of the Seattle Mariners throws out Drew Stubbs #11 of the Cleveland Indians during the fourth inning at Progressive Field on May 19, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Less than 24 hours after Jesus Montero was involved in a strange run-in with Seattle Mariners' scout Butch Baccala while making a rehab appearance in Boise, general manager Jack Zduriencik released a statement to the media denouncing the actions of both men, while also providing an update on their current status with the club. 

"First off, it is clear that both Jesus Montero and Butch Baccala engaged in behavior that is far below what we expect from members of our organization, including bad judgment at nearly every stage of this incident.

"I want to apologize on behalf of the Mariners franchise to the Boise Hawks and their fans. We recognize that fans, including children, were impacted by this incident, and the language that was used. We recognize the severity of this incident, and want to assure the Hawks and their fans that it will be dealt with appropriately. In addition, I want to thank Todd Rahr, president and general manager of the Boise Hawks, for his assistance in helping me ascertain what occurred last night.

"Jesus Montero has been recalled from his rehabilitation assignment and is on his way to Seattle. Butch Baccala has returned to his home in the Bay Area where he will remain until further notice.

In a further update to the situation, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that Montero's season is over, and it's now Zduriencik's intention to have Montero aggressively address "non-baseball issues" that are potentially affecting his on-field performance and behavior. 

"What we intend to do and what we are in the process of doing in terms of Jesus Montero is we are going to separate the baseball part of Jesus Montero from the human element part of Jesus Montero.  Our intent is to address Jesus’ issues. There’s a history here of things that have happened. We are very, very disappointed in him. I think more than anything else, from a human standpoint, we have to look at Jesus Montero as a person, as a father and as a husband and how can we help Jesus Montero and his family get through this."

Montero's checkered past includes a suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis scandal. According to Shannon Dryer of Mynorthwest.com, following the 2013 season, which was marred by injury and the suspension, Montero was asked to play winter ball, but only ended up playing sparingly, He reported to the team that he was involved in a minor car accident and had suffered a lacerated hand that required stitches. That situation raised some eyebrows, as did Montero reporting to spring training 40 pounds overweight

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(USA Today)

(USA Today)

It's not one isolated incident that has proven concerning for Zduriencik and his staff, and the nature of Thursday's incident seems to have been the straw that finally broke the camel's back.

At 24, there's obviously still hope that Montero can put it together and become the offensive contributor Seattle envisioned when they acquired him in 2012 from the New York Yankees for starter Michael Pineda. He's still a young man and there's still a lot of baseball left in him. That said, the Mariners seem to be doing the right thing by removing him from that pressure cooker, allowing him to clear his head and to put his focus on the bigger picture in life. 

"We will continue to do that and we have avenues we intend to go down and we will have in-depth conversations with Jesus and his family on how we can help him go on with his life," Zduriencik said. "At the end of the day we hope Jesus Montero becomes a big league player and a good big league player. But if that is not the case we certainly hope we can help Jesus Montero grow up and be a man and be the kind of father and kind of husband that he needs to be."

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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