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30-year-old slugger Luis Jimenez gets his first major league start

Sep 7, 2012, 6:18 PM EDT

Luis Jimenez AP

I first became aware of Luis Antonio Jimenez in 2002, when, as a 2o-year-old Orioles farmhand, he tore up the Appy League to the tune of a .375 average, eight homers and 42 RBI in 211 at-bats. The especially curious thing about it was that the A’s had released him the year before.

Although Jimenez seemingly came out of nowhere, Baseball America thought enough of that 51-game campaign to make him the Orioles’ No. 4 prospect entering 2003, placing him behind Erik Bedard, Darnell McDonald and Daniel Cabrera. But that ranking turned bust in a hurry. Jimenez hit .244 with just one homer in low-A ball that year. Let go again, he quickly turned into a journeyman minor leaguer, spending one year apiece in the Dodgers, Twins and Red Sox systems. He rejoined the Orioles in 2007, moved to the Nationals system in 2008 and then gave Japan a try in 2009.

Once Jimenez washed out as a Nippon Ham Fighter, it figured he was done for good. However, he showed up again in the minors in 2011, hitting .294 with 16 homers between the Mariners’ top two farm clubs. Back with Triple-A Tacoma this season, he hit .310/.394/.514 with 20 homers, earning him his first major league callup this month.

Now Jimenez is getting his first start tonight as the Mariners’ DH and No. 8 hitter against the A’s. I’m not really expecting much of anything, but he certainly deserves credit for perseverance. Jimenez played in nine different leagues in 11 seasons before getting his callup this week. Hopefully he manages to hit one homer before the year is out.

  1. lew24 - Sep 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Awesome story! He should be nicknamed Crash!

  2. tfbuckfutter - Sep 7, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Reminds me a bit of Morgan Burkhart.

    Good for him though. Hopefully if he takes nothing else from his career, he enjoyed playing the game. And he can say he made it.

  3. seatownfaithful - Sep 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    …good, I have totally run out of excuses to continue to watch the M’s everyday

  4. dawgpoundmember - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Get paid as a minor to play baseball or work everyday doing anything else at almost the same rate? I’d love to be a career minor leaguer.

  5. seeinred87 - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    I’d take it in a heartbeat. But I bet it’s almost impossible to not think of how close you are and all the reasons you’re “stuck.” It wouldn’t eat at me or anything, but I think that would always kind of stay with me.

    • seeinred87 - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:57 AM

      Dammit, that was meant to be a reply to dawgpoundmember

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