The Chicago Cubs moved swiftly to respond to Miguel Montero's rant against teammate Jake Arrieta, designating the catcher for assignment Wednesday morning.
The Nationals stole seven bases with Montero behind the plate Tuesday night. After the game, Montero defended himself and complained about how slow starting pitcher Jake Arrieta's delivery is and not giving him a chance to throw out baserunners.
"It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn't give me any time," Montero said. "So it's just like, 'Yeah, OK Miggy can't throw nobody out,' but my pitcher doesn't hold anybody on. ...
"That's the reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate. Simple as that. It's a shame that it's my fault because I didn't throw anybody out."
Montero, however, had yet to throw out a baserunner this season: Opponents were 31 for 31 running against him.
Montero turned to Twitter to thank the Cubs Nation after his 2 1/2 year stint came to an abrupt end.
"To the city of Chicago, Dear fans, today I say goodbye to the greatest fans. I want to thank you for the support.
"It was an awesome ride. Winning the World Series was simply fantastic. Thank you to my teammates - good luck to everyone of you.
Thank you also to each staff member, it was an honor to play for the Chicago Cubs organization. Chicago will always be in my heart."
Anthony Rizzo, one of the teams veterans, was one of the first to quickly defend Arrieta and respond to Montero's postgame rant, calling his teammate "unprofessional" and "selfish" in a Wednesday morning radio appearance.
“It’s frustrating,” Rizzo told Chicago radio station ESPN 100. “Whenever anyone steals seven bases, Miggy gets frustrated. It’s the second time barking in the media and not going to his teammates. As a veteran like he is, you’d think he’d make smart decisions about it.”
Rizzo said he was unaware of Montero's comments until Wednesday morning, and wished Montero kept his displeasure in-house.
“We win as a team, we lose as a team,” Rizzo said. “When you start pointing fingers, that just labels you as a selfish player. I disagree. I think we have another catcher who throws out anyone who steals. and he has Jon Lester who doesn’t pick over, that’s no secret. I think going to the media with things like that, I don’t think it’s very professional.”
The Cubs, struggling at one game above .500 (39-38), resume their four-game series with Washington on Wednesday night.
They'll be down one veteran catcher.
“Something like this, it’s out in the public now,” Rizzo said. “Things that get handled over coffee and in the clubhouse are things people never know about. This is all over ‘SportsCenter’ last night and we’re talking about it today. We win as 25, we lose as 25, and to call your teammates out via the press, what’s the point?”
Montero, 33, batted a career-low .216 in 2016 and was a .242 hitter with a .342 on-base percentage in three seasons with Chicago after a 2014 trade from Arizona. His playing time diminished as top prospects Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber arrived and claimed at-bats behind the plate.
He did, however, hit one of the biggest home runs in the Cubs' run to their first World Series title since 1908. His pinch-hit grand slam off Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton broke an eighth-inning tie in Game 1 of the 2016 National Championship Series.
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