Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Chris Gimenez turns playing time into productivity

ARLINGTON, Texas — C Chris Gimenez is getting used to seeing his name on the Rays' lineup card, having started four times in the past eight days.

"It's been awesome," he said.

It is, however, an unfamiliar feeling. Gimenez said he has never played this much over any stretch in his four big-league seasons. But it has allowed him to get into a rhythm, offensively and defensively. Gimenez has reached base in four of the six games he has played for the Rays since getting called up from Triple-A Durham on April 15 to replace injured Jose Lobaton (shoulder).

"I'm not saying I'm going to be an All-Star, but I've always felt like I could be a decent player if you get a chance to play a little bit," Gimenez said. "Because it's tough, tough at any level, not to get a chance to play very often.

"Baseball is all about timing and having that feel and that rhythm. And the more you can keep that in the game situations, the better off you're going to be."

Manager Joe Maddon said Gimenez has earned that opportunity, praising the way he has played defensively, including blocking balls and calling games, as well as improving his at-bats. Maddon told Gimenez when the Rays signed him to a minor-league deal in February he could get a chance to play.

Maddon did say the Rays plan to stick with the idea of a 50-50 platoon with veteran C Jose Molina, based partly on the opposing pitcher, but he has been impressed with Gimenez.

"He's not only won me over, but the players have been won over by him, too," Maddon said.

TOUGH TASK: RHP Jeff Niemann acknowledges he has had his share of struggles against the Rangers, going 0-2 with a 10.66 ERA in three appearances heading into tonight's start against the two-time defending American League champions.

"It's definitely a quality lineup one through nine," Niemann said.

But Niemann is encouraged with how he has improved in each of his three outings this season, including his first win, Sunday against the Twins. And Niemann said he plans to stick with what he does well and not try to do too much differently, even if Texas has had his number.

"I think, more than anything, you should stay within your game plan against a good team because, at the end of the day, your best chance to beat them is by being you first," Maddon said.

"If you go out there with a lesser version of you based on all these adaptations you want to make versus a better team, more than likely it's not going to be successful."

FOLLOWUP: 1B/DH Brandon Allen said he received a lot of text messages from friends and family in the hours after his Thursday walkoff homer against the Angels, the first of his career. The Elias Sports Bureau said Allen is first player to hit a walkoff homer in his first at-bat for a team since 1984 (Indians' Jamie Quirk).

"It's been a whirlwind," Allen said. "It's been fun."

Allen said his parents, Paul and Doris, and sister, Karissa, made the three-hour drive from Montgomery, Texas, to be here for the Rangers series.

LOOKING BACK: SS Sean Rodriguez, who made a rare baserunning mistake in Thursday's game against the Angels, said he "got caught being a little too aggressive," rounding third too wide after a force at second.

"I almost messed everything up," he said.

MISCELLANY: Maddon said there was nothing new to report on the potential signing of DH Hideki Matsui. "None. Zero." … Maddon said Texas LHP Matt Harrison is a pitcher DH Luke Scott could have played against Friday night, but he "wanted to run a good defensive team out there," which is a reason why 2B Elliot Johnson played.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Chris Gimenez turns playing time into productivity 04/27/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF baseball heads to Gainesville for regional play


    TAMPA — Had USF's players and coaches been less confident in their NCAA Tournament resume, Monday's selection show might have induced fidgeting, perhaps even frustration.

    South Florida coach Mark Kingston looks on during 2017 American Athletic Conference game Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater during the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls won 7-6.
  2. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight


    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and are calling up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez is still slated to start tonight, even after throwing 12 pitches to get the final three outs - and the save - in Sunday's …

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.
  3. Tiger Woods arrested in Florida on DUI charge, released

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  4. After state, academics will trump athletics for King ace Brian Lee


    TAMPA — Brian Lee can still see himself on the pitcher's mound at Venice High School. Four years ago he was a freshman left-handed reliever just trying to keep King's state championship dreams alive.

    Pitcher Brian Lee participates in a practice at King High in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, May 26, 2017.
  5. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside


    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)