Q&A with Luis Montanez

Has former first round draft pick Luis Montanez finally turned the corner in his professional career? A Q&A with the third overall pick from 2000.

Inside The Ivy: All things considered, it's been a great year for you. What all has changed from your first several years in the organization?

Luis Montanez: There's a little less pressure on me now. I have more experience and have also matured a little as a ballplayer. Everything put together has made for a great year.

Inside The Ivy: You worked out with the Double-A squad in Spring Training. Were you surprised not to be here sooner?

Luis Montanez: I was surprised. I guess with the way the rosters were set up, someone had to be moved down. I was patient, though.

Inside The Ivy: Your power and extra base hits are up somewhat, but your average has really seen the most dramatic increase. How different is your approach these days?

Luis Montanez: Well, I've struck out less this year, which has obviously helped me put the ball in play and squeeze out more hits. It's been much better than in years past certainly.

Inside The Ivy: Talk about the transition from shortstop to the outfield that you made last year. How difficult was it?

Luis Montanez: I was regarding it as a challenge, but at the same time it's been easier than I expected going in. I was playing one of the toughest positions in the game, so it has been easier on me in the outfield. I had my challenges, but I've been able to overcome them. Defensively, there are less responsibilities, so you can focus more on hitting.

Inside The Ivy: Looking at your splits, you've really crushed the left-handers this year, wouldn't you say?

Luis Montanez: Yeah, I think it's a case of seeing the ball better from that angle. Most hitters feel more comfortable in that regard.

Inside The Ivy: How much has your confidence level improved since you started to come around?

Luis Montanez: A lot. You know, when you're playing good and getting promoted, your confidence level can go up in a hurry.

Inside The Ivy: What does the offseason hold in store? Do you have plans to play winter ball again?

Luis Montanez: Yeah, I'll play winter ball in Puerto Rico as I have these past couple of years. I'll play there a couple of months and get ready for Spring Training.

Inside The Ivy: I realize we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but where do you envision beginning 2006?

Luis Montanez: I'd like to work hard enough to get invited to big league camp. After that, I'd like to start the year in Double-A and, depending on how I play, hopefully earn a promotion to Chicago.

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