Jesus Montero talked with a small group of reporters after working out today at the team's minor league complex and left no doubt regarding his primary spring training goal. 

"I want to be in the big leagues this year," he said several times.

Montero got here two weeks ago and looks slimmer than he did a season ago at this time. He knows the lingering questions, as they've always been, are about his defense, something he felt he made progress with in 2010.

"I did a good job last year," he said.


"I have to work harder this year to show them I can catch. I know that I can do it but maybe a little harder this year so I can stick with the team and help them to win."

Asked if he felt now, on Feb. 8, major-league ready, Montero said he did.

"I want to be behind the plate,” Montero said. “I want to show everybody that I can catch with the Yankees.”

The presumed starter, Russell Martin, was also at the complex today, and he said he's almost completely recovered from the hip injury that ended his season on Aug. 3 last year and surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee he underwent Dec. 17.

He said he’s “not completely 100 percent,” but that he’s running at 75 percent and will squat and catch for the first time this offseason Wednesday morning.

“I think I’ll be ready for the season for sure,” he said. “I can’t predict the future but how I feel right now, I feel pretty good so I’m pretty confident.”


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