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Originally published Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:06 PM

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Montero needs surgery on injured left knee

Jesus Montero, demoted to the minors May 22, is facing another setback. The Mariners announced Saturday that Montero has a tear of the meniscus...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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MINNEAPOLIS — Jesus Montero, demoted to the minors May 22, is facing another setback.

The Mariners announced Saturday that Montero has a tear of the meniscus in his left knee and will undergo surgery next week. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

There was no immediate word on how the injury occurred. He was examined Friday by Dr. Edward Khalfayan, the Mariners' medical director.

Montero, 23, had played seven games with the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers, hitting .250 (7 for 28) with three doubles, a triple and two runs batted in. His last game was May 29 at Colorado Springs.

The Mariners sent Montero down when his average hit .208, with ongoing struggles behind the plate. He was being used primarily at first base in the minors as the Mariners were backing off on his development as a catcher.

Notes

Jason Bay has had two chances to be a hero on this road trip. His homer in the ninth inning Wednesday in San Diego broke a 1-1 tie, only to have the Padres score in the bottom of the ninth and win it in the 10th.

And Saturday, Bay's seventh-inning homer — his second of the game — broke a 2-2 tie with the Twins, but once again the Mariners couldn't hold on as the Twins scored three in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

Bay's resurgence, however, remains a bright spot in this Seattle season. He now has eight homers, equaling his total last year with the Mets.

"The power is always there," Bay said. "I don't think that's ever been an issue. I've done it before. Just somewhere along the way, I got off track as far as the process, as far as the swing — paralysis by analysis, where you try to do more or work on this or that.

"Part of it is this is a game where it's hard to try easier, if that makes sense. You want to try to do more, and the game doesn't really reward that. The power has always been there, and now it's just a matter of getting out of my own way, if that makes sense."

• Mariners starter Aaron Harang wasn't quite as sharp as last time out, when he blanked the Padres on four hits. But he limited the Twins to just four hits and one earned run in six innings and was in position for the victory until the ninth-inning collapse.

"Early on, I felt kind of inconsistent," he said. "But I battled through the situations. I feel like I didn't have my control right away. But I was able to battle through and get us through those first few innings and finally able to calm down."

Harang needed to calm down after a play in the second inning, when he fielded a comebacker and airmailed the throw home. He would have easily thrown out Chris Parmelee at the plate with a good toss. But Harang said he had told himself to go for a double play on a comebacker, and was indecisive because he wasn't expecting Parmelee to break.

"When he took off, it kind of threw me for a loop, and I just didn't set my feet," he said. "I was telling myself mentally, 'Don't airmail one,' and obviously I did."

• Manager Eric Wedge said he hopes Justin Smoak, who has missed the past week with an oblique injury, will be ready to start Sunday. However, Michael Morse (quad) will likely need at least another day.

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