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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

April 22, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Mariners minor-league report, April 22

Here’s today’s minor-league report.

It’s been a rough start so far for the four Mariner affiliates playing right now. A year after winning the Pacific Coast League title, the Tacoma Rainiers are 4-11 after being bashed by Colorado Springs, 13-1 last night. Class A Clinton is also 4-11, while AA Jackson is 6-8 and Class A High Desert is 7-8.

Matt Mangini returned to Tacoma’s lineup yesterday after a long stint on the sidelines with a strained right quad, dating back to spring training. He batted fourth and played designated hitter for Daren Brown and had a double in the game. Until he got hurt, Mangini had an outside shot at making the Mariners’ major-league roster out of camp. He was Tacoma’s top hitter last year with a .313 average, 18 homers and 63 RBIs in 117 games. He hit .211 for the Mariners in 11 games. Nice to see Mike Carp breaking loose a little in the midst of a season-opening slump. Carp had three hits, including his second homer of the season.

For followers of Tacoma and the Mariners, Mike Curto’s always-entertaining blog is a must-read. Mike is the Rainiers’ fine play-by-play announcer, and a Cal grad like me, so he’s got that going for him.

Today’s name that caught me eye is Luis Jimenez, who hit a home run for Jackson as the designated hitter. The name didn’t really ring a bell, but when I looked him up in the media guide, I discovered he’s had an interesting career. For starters, Jimenez is no kid. He’s 28, and turns 29 on May 7. Plus, he’s gigantic, listed as 6-foot-3, 275 pounds. The Venezuelan played in Japan last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters, appearing in 39 games and hitting .231 with five homers. He swings and throws left-handed. Sounds Big Papi-esque.

Jimenez has been around the block. Originally signed by the A’s in 1999, he’s also played in the minor leagues for Orioles, Dodgers, Twins, Red Sox and Nationals. I’m not sure what the rap is on him, because the numbers are pretty decent, including a .328 average, .399 on-base percentage and .591 slugging percentage for Class AA Bowie in 2007, with 22 homers in 320 at-bats. But obviously something has held him back as he’s barely had a sniff at the Triple-A level. This season, Jimenez missed almost all of spring training with a groin injury. Curto wrote on his blog that he thought Jimenez was headed for Tacoma until the injury.

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