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Montero to join Yankees Thursday

Jesus Montero, a catcher, is considered the top

Jesus Montero, a catcher, is considered the top position-player prospect in the Yankees' minor-league system. (Feb. 19, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

BOSTON -- Jesus Montero's major-league debut could come as soon as Thursday night, as the Yankees' top prospect will be among those called up Thursdaywhen rosters expand to 40 from 25.

Joe Girardi said "I wouldn't be afraid to put him behind the plate," though Montero is being brought up primarily because of what he can do with his bat, the element of his game that makes him one of the top prospects in the sport.

Montero, 21, rebounded from a tough start at Triple-A Scranton to hit .288 with 18 homers and 67 RBIs in 109 games. He had five homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games.

"There's a serious upside to that bat," hitting coach Kevin Long said. "There's a lot of raw power . . . his biggest thing is going to be to learn how to hit. Game-planning, work, figuring out adjustments."

Few question that Montero will figure those things out at the major-league level once he's given a shot but there remain questions about his ability to receive.

"Nothing wrong with the bat," said one scout who has followed Montero. "His catching is still the issue."

Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, two of the organization's top pitching prospects, are not expected to be called up Thursday.

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