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D-backs catcher Miguel Montero: ‘I don’t have pressure’ to fill Justin Upton’s shoes

ESPN’s Baseball Tonight bus tour rolled through Salt River Fields earlier this week to catch up with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And the big question on the mind of analyst and former MLB infielder Aaron Boone was who in the D-backs lineup will pick up the production left behind after Justin Upton’s departure? Upton’s shoes are big ones to fill offensively (averaged close to 23 home runs and 78 RBI over the past four seasons), and the easy answer would seemingly be veteran catcher Miguel Montero.

In 2012, Montero finished second among National League catchers in RBI (88), third in home runs (15) and third in batting average (.286). But when asked if he was the guy who needed to make up for Upton’s absence, Montero said it’ll be a team effort not an individual one.

“I don’t have pressure at all to be honest,” Montero said in regards to filling Upton’s shoes. “We have a good club. Justin’s a great player don’t get me wrong, any team would want to have that type of player.

“But we have a good ball club, those guys fit in perfectly with the type of ball club we are. I’m just going to keep playing my game, doing the same stuff.”

Over his first seven years with the D-backs, Montero has often been lauded for ability to manage a pitching staff with his lighthearted, yet vocal personality. While those qualities would appear to make the Venezuelan one of the team’s veteran leaders moving forward, Montero doesn’t quite see it that way.

“I’m just one of the guys that plays the game hard and respects the game,” said Montero. “Obviously to be successful in this game and to be successful as a team, we all have to be leaders and respect the game and do the right thing to win.

“Obviously if I see something that isn’t fitting, I’ll let it be known…I just want to win, that’s it. Do whatever it takes to win.”

Although the team went through quite a makeover in the offseason bringing in the likes of Cody Ross, Eric Chavez, Eric Hinske, Health Bell and Martin Prado, Montero doesn’t believe wins will hard to come by for the D-backs in 2013.

“We’re going to be really good, because we’ve got gamers,” said Montero. “When you have gamers on your team, they do whatever it takes to win ball games. That’s how you win a championship.

“The vibe is really good, the guys that we got are great teammates, they have a great personalities and they’ve got that winning attitude.”