TORONTO—After coming back from elbow surgery, catcher A.J. Jimenez is rested and ready for a breakout season.
The 23-year-old was limited to 27 games—batting .257/.295/.371—at Double-A New Hampshire in 2012 before the procedure. He returned in May and hit .287/.332/.406 with four home runs and 38 RBIs over 67 games at three levels. He also proved that his throwing arm was sound by throwing out 47 percent of potential basestealers.
Jimenez has found that the positives have offset his time away.
“I think it was the worst thing that happened to me but at the same time it was the best thing that happened to me because I know how to take care of myself now," he said at rookie development camp at Rogers Centre. “It's been great so far. I just started throwing and it felt so great. I can't wait to be back."
Considered the top catching prospect in the organization, he might have been a September callup from Triple-A Buffalo at the end of last season before having a minor setback with his elbow.
He is a line-drive hitter who drives the ball to all fields but minor league hitting coordinator Mike Barnett feels that with his approach more power could follow.
Jimenez is likely to start the season at Buffalo with the possibility of reaching the majors at some time during the season.
- Toronto's minor league managers in 2014 will be: Gary Allenson (Triple-A Buffalo), Bobby Meacham (Double-A New Hampshire), Omar Malave (high Class A Dunedin), John Tamargo, Jr., (low Class A Lansing), John Schneider (short-season Vancouver), Dennis Holmberg (Rookie-level Bluefield), Kenny Graham (Rookie-level Gulf Coast League) and Jose Mateo (Dominican Summer League).
- Players who attended the rookie camp include: Pitchers Aaron Sanchez, Deck McGuire, John Stilson, Marcus Stroman, Marcus Walden, Bob Rasmussen, Ryan Tepera and Sean Nolin, outfielders Brad Glenn and Kenny Wilson and catchers Sean Ochinko and Jimenez.