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Cubs’ Montero becomes U.S. citizen

Miguel Montero gives a thumbs-up during a spring training game this year. Montero became a U.S. citizen on Monday.

Miguel Montero joked that he was too tired to feel nervous.

After the Cubs played in Boston on Sunday night, Montero flew home with his teammates in the wee hours of the morning. He did not climb into his own bed in Chicago until about 5 a.m. Monday.

Three hours later, Montero was awake. He and his wife had a 9 a.m. exam to become United States citizens.

They passed.

The Cubs acknowledged Montero’s accomplishment with a scoreboard announcement during Monday night’s game against the Phillies. The news garnered one of the biggest cheers of an otherwise dreary night in which the Cubs were pounded 10-2.

Montero said he appreciated the fans’ support.

“It was great,” said Montero, a native of Venezuela. “I really appreciated that. I know they’re happy for me and my family.

“I’m so blessed in my career and life. Those are times, later on, you can look back and you appreciate how blessed you were.”

Montero said he studied hard for about a month for the exam. After passing the test, he went to get his passport before heading straight to the ballpark.

Some of Montero’s teammates helped him as he studied U.S. history.

“I always practiced the test with them to see if they were capable to pass the test or not,” Montero said with a grin. “I would tell you, probably half of this team, they weren’t capable to do it.”

Montero said Kyle Hendricks and Kris Bryant fared the best during test preparation. He poked fun at former Cubs pitcher and Canada native Ryan Dempster when he saw him at the stadium after the exam.

“I saw Dempster today over here and I told him, ‘Hey, get out of my country,’” Montero joked.