BRADENTON, Fla. - Jesus Montero's defense has been questioned since the Yankees signed him in 2006, but the catcher's right arm never has.

He put on an impressive display with it Tuesday against the Pirates.

The 21-year-old, getting his second start of the spring, threw out two baserunners, one on a strike-him-out, throw-him-out in the third inning and the other on a straight steal in the fourth.

"He has a lot of arm strength," Joe Girardi said.

Girardi said the Yankees had Montero's pop-up time on his fourth-inning throw that caught Alex Presley stealing - the straight steal - at less than two seconds.

"He's been able to shorten up his arm motion; he stays down," Girardi said. "I can't tell you how many strides he's made since last year."

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Work on Jeter goes on

Derek Jeter, who wasn't scheduled to travel, did extra work in the cage with hitting coach Kevin Long, who oversaw the session before driving to Bradenton.

"I thought it went outstanding," Long said.

Long once again said eliminating Jeter's stride is "a work in progress" that is going to take some time. Long said the front foot coming up, similar to Albert Pujols', is fine; it's the stride forward that the pair is working to get rid of.