Gimenez Comes Through For Dodgers
If Hector Gimenez
wondered about the Dodgers' intentions when they signed the career minor leaguer to a free-agent contract last November, those doubts were eased when the team placed him on the 40-man roster before the Winter Meetings.
"We didn't want to lose this guy in the Rule 5 draft," general manager Ned Colletti
said. "We wanted to give him a chance to play here."
Gimenez made the most of that chance, batting .283/.333/.565 with three home runs in 46 spring training at-bats to make the Opening Day roster as the third catcher.
"I was just coming here this year prepared to do what I needed to do to get a chance to play in the big leagues," said Gimenez, whose only previous stay in the majors came in 2006 when he went hitless in two pinch-hit at-bats as a September callup with the Astros.
Gimenez had a leg up on the competition long before spring training since he was signed on the recommendation of super scout Ron Rizzi
, who is building quite a track record in assessing Venezuelan players. In the last three years, the Dodgers signed free-agent Ronald Belisario
, traded for pitcher Carlos Monasterios
and signed Gimenez on the advice of Rizzi—all three made the big league roster within a few months of joining the organization.
Colletti said he was interested in Gimenez as a way to give the team depth at catcher.
"If you don't have a catcher, you can't take a center fielder, a left fielder, a first baseman and say 'OK you're going to catch today,' " Colletii said.
Gimenez got the chance he was looking for when the Dodgers lost former all-star Russell Martin
to the Yankees in December.
"He swings with bad intention," Colletti said of Gimenez, who played first base last winter in the Venezuelan League and gives the Dodgers an option to James Loney
at first base as well as a switch-hitting power bat off the bench.
• Jerry Sands
, the Dodgers' player of the year last season, opened 2011 with Triple-A Albuquerque despite batting .313/.405/.594 in 32 spring training at-bats.
• The Dodgers expect to see 22-year-old righthander Rubby De la Rosa
in the majors this summer after an impressive spring in which he posted a .161 opponents average.