It would have been fair for Luis Jimenez to wonder if he was going to get a chance to appear in the major leagues with the Angels. He had been signed by the Angels at age 17, and despite displaying a solid power and speed combination, he moved slowly up the Angels organizational ladder. At age 25, after spending eight seasons in the minor leagues, including the 2009 season that he missed with a torn labrum, no one would have blamed Jimenez if he had doubts about reaching the major leagues.
Jimenez finally reached the majors last year, when he was called up to replace J.B. Shuck. Playing primarily at third base, Jimenez appeared as though he may be putting himself in position to be considered as a long term answer at third before he suffered another torn labrum, causing him to miss two months. He came back in August, then reinjured the shoulder a month later, ending his season. Even when he finally made the Angels, he just seemed to have bad luck.
With the acquisition of David Freese, any hopes that Luis Jimenez had that he would be able to compete for the Angels starting third base spot completely vanished. Now, despite being a third baseman throughout most of his career, Jimenez knows that his best chance to make the Angels is to set himself up as a utility player.
“My plan right now is just, whatever they need me for, I’ll be available. If they need me as a catcher, I’ll be there,” Jimenez said.
Interestingly enough, the experience Jimenez has at catcher may be a factor in his favor. In the minor leagues, Jimenez played six games at short, four at first and twelve games as a catcher. In fact, in his first season in 2006, Jimenez appeared predominantly as a catcher for the Angels Dominican Summer League team.
As it stands, Luis Jimenez is likely to battle Grant Green for a utility role on the Angels. While both players have displayed the ability to hit, Green’s glove is reminiscent of cement. If Jimenez is able to show that he can provide at least adequate defense at different spots in the infield, he may be able to earn that utility role.
Luis Jimenez waited a long time to earn an opportunity to play in the major leagues. If he proves he can play other positions at a passable level, he may not have to worry about getting a second chance.