Jimenez excited to join Sox in big league camp
|03.23.10 at 4:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — On a day when they announced another series of cuts, the Red Sox have also added one player to big league camp. Third baseman Jorge Jimenez, who impressed the Marlins while in big league camp as a Rule 5 draftee, re-entered the Sox’ farm system, but is in major league camp. Jimenez, who arrived in the Sox clubhouse on Sunday and went 1-for-2 as a late-inning replacement in an exhibition contest on Monday, spoke positively of his experience.
“I didn’t make the team. That was my goal,” said Jimenez. “But other teams saw me play at the next level. I feel happy, and now I’m back, ready to work hard, try to make this team.”
Jimenez was taken by the Astros as a Rule 5 draftee and then traded to Florida to complete a deal for closer Matt Lindstrom. A Rule 5 draftee must stay on a big league roster all season or be offered back to the club from whom he was selected.
Though the Marlins thought highly of Jimenez, they felt that they would not be able to carry him on the active big league roster all year. As such, they returned him to Boston.
Still, Jimenez — who hit .289/.366/.424/.789 with 13 homers and 87 RBIs for Double-A Portland last year — made a positive impression, particularly with his defensive work at third base. The Marlins raved about Jimenez’ arm, describing it as at least plus.
“It was always one of my good tools,” said Jimenez. “I’ve always thrown hard, but when I was there, maybe because I was more excited, I was throwing harder.”
Jimenez was told that he would compete for the Marlins’ starting third base job, a prospect that was understandably thrilling for a player who had never played above Double-A. However, he was a bit disappointed to receive somewhat limited playing time. He went 3-for-18 with two doubles and three walks before the Marlins sent him back to the Red Sox.
“They didn’t give me an opportunity to show what I can do. With 18 at-bats, nobody knows what you can do,” he said. “[But] I’m still excited because of the experience.”
Now back with the Sox, Jimenez is hopeful that he will have a chance to continue to make a favorable spring impression on more organizations. Thanks to an unexpected invitation to participate in big league camp — including a chance to start at third base and then move over to play some first in Bradenton on Wednesday — he will have that opportunity.
The look could be more than cosmetic. Ken Rosenthal reported (via Twitter) that the Sox and Marlins discussed the possibility of a trade that would allow Jimenez to remain in Florida’s system. He could also have an opportunity to position himself for a call-up with the Sox should need arise, since the team’s prospect ranks are somewhat thin in the upper levels.
“I’m excited. I thought that I was going to go back straight to the minor leagues,” he said. “They gave me the opportunity to stay up here for a couple days. I’m still working hard. That’s what you’ve got to do.”
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