MLB experience bolsters Salt Lake
Luis Jimenez couldn't hide a smile as he talked about his first stint in the majors a 24-game stretch with the Angels that left him wanting just a little more.
"It was awesome, something unbelievable that you dream about as a kid," the 25-year-old third baseman said at his first batting practice back in Salt Lake. "You're just happy, you can't believe it's happening to you."
But the Angels couldn't give Jimenez enough chances to get in games after the team's everyday players got healthy, so the organization sent him back down to the Bees. Here he's an everyday player.
Jimenez says he is happy to be back happy to be playing, happy to see old teammates and friends. But it's more bittersweet now.
"It's harder now, because you know you can be up there," he said. "You get sent down not because you're a bad player, but because they can't give you opportunities. Now you're going hard. You're trying to show them they can give another chance."
It's helped the Bees (22-23) a great deal to have that experience on their roster. Monday's 5-4 win over the Memphis Redbirds (22-20) showed how composure can make or break a game.
Down a run in the bottom of the eighth, Kole Calhoun sent a dribbler to the mound he called it a "bunt swing" at the feet of Marc Rzepczynski. The Memphis pitcher bobbled the gentle grounder, then botched the throw, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs for the Bees.
There were many guys who have recently been up to the bigs contributing. Barry Enright started the game, and Rob Delaney finished it with the win. Calhoun, finally healthy, notched the contact that sent the winning run across. Jimenez and Andrew Romine locked down their side of the infield. Scott Cousins had a pair of hits in his return to Salt Lake.
And even if a lot of them are itching to get back, they're playing their Triple A games with a great deal of confidence. The lineup is beginning to look much like the one the Bees had on Opening Night.
"It definitely helps," Calhoun said. "This is the team we broke camp with, the one we expected this season. A lot of these guys were here last year, and mixed in with some veterans we have a lot of camaraderie."
That's certainly music to manager Keith Johnson's ears. His club has as much depth as it has had all season, and as experienced players fight for big league jobs, his team could ride the fortunes their efforts bring.
"[When you don't have depth], it seems when you need to win like the guy who is struggling or the guy who is inexperienced is up," Johnson said. "With this lineup, there's experience up and down. â¦ There was no panic late in the game. We kept threatening, kept threatening and finally we were able to push across the last two runs to get the win."
Storylines Bees 5, Redbirds 4
R An error in the eighth gives the Bees the tying and winning runs.
• Rob Delaney gets the win, making a double play to end the game.
•Â Luis Rodriguez has two hits and two runs in the win.