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Salt Lake Bees' Luis Jimenez has major league talent

Published April 11, 2013 9:32 am

Salt Lake third baseman stuck behind top talent.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There wasn't any doubt — Luis Jimenez was going yard.

The Salt Lake Bees third baseman was just beginning his day, but the way his bat cracked, the way the ball shot up, it was unmistakably destined for a spot over the wall. And as it soared over the left field foul pole — part of the Bees' 9-4 win to open Wednesday's doubleheader — Jimenez calmly trotted his way around the bags at Spring Mobile Ballpark.

It's a pretty sure thing that one day, the 25-year-old will bring that bat to the majors. He's hit .284 or better at every stop in professional baseball. He was a standout in spring training, earning the organization's spring rookie of the year honor last month.

His talents were on display Wednesday, helping the Bees to 9-4 and 5-3 wins while getting three hits, including his first home run of the season. He was intentionally walked in his final at-bat of the night, a nod to his hitting prowess.

He could be a major leaguer one day, but he's still in Salt Lake this season, and for now, that's what he's worried about: winning here.

"I just try to do my own thing," Jimenez said. "I try to go hard for whatever play. Defense, everywhere. I just try to put in hard work every day and move on from there."

Jimenez is one of the mainstays from the 2012 season, setting the Bees' pace while batting .309 last year with 16 homers and 85 RBIs. Along with Kole Calhoun, he's considered one of the best young talents on the team, a high-level position prospect in almost any organization.

But in the Angels' system, Jimenez finds himself in an unusual position. He couldn't beat out Angels starter Alberto Callaspo, and versatile former teammate Andrew Romine locked down a roster spot over him as well. The future is against Jimenez: The organization's top prospect, Kaleb Cowart, plays third base in double-A Arkansas.

But it's not really something the Dominican worries about. He knows as long as he can produce, he can't be ignored.

"I have to just come do my job because they have to do their job too," he said. "That's how it works: whoever has the best stuff on the table is the one who gets to play."

Jimenez is trying to show his top-drawer game, settling in as a stalwart at third defensively while batting .370. And while he's at it, he wouldn't mind winning a few games in Salt Lake, too.

"That's the goal: to win the championship," he said. "Everywhere you go, that's what you need to do. Right now we're playing good baseball. If we keep it up, we'll be good." —

Bees earn sweep

O Luis Rodriguez hits a grand slam to lead the Bees to the Game 1 win.

• Rodriguez also hits the game-winning double in the second game.