Home is calling for Chris Gimenez, who first returns to the Twins
ARLINGTON, Texas — It was Kellie Gimenez, back home in Reno, Nev., with the couple's three young children, who got to inform her husband of the exact terms of the trade that sent the vivacious catcher back to the Twins on Thursday, Aug. 30.
When Chris Gimenez heard the Chicago Cubs received fellow backup and former Texas Rangers teammate Bobby Wilson for him, he was floored.
"I thought I got traded for a bag of sunflower seeds," Chris Gimenez said Saturday after sauntering into the Twins' clubhouse. "It was kind of awkward. Bobby is actually one of my really good friends. We created a special bond because I think we're so similar in career paths and how we think about stuff. He's better looking than me."
Both are 35, hit two ways (right and seldom) and have stuck around this long for their defensive and leadership abilities. While Wilson gets to join the first-place Cubs and chase his first World Series title, Gimenez realizes the end may be near for him after hitting .204 in 68 games at Triple-A Iowa.
"This year has definitely not gone the way I'd planned it to go," he said. "The hardest part about it was this is the first year my family hasn't been with me. I would hate for my wife to hate me because I play baseball."
Since watching David Ross "ride off into the sunset" with the Cubs in 2016, Gimenez had hoped to do the same. He has since realized that dream has "kind of been quashed."
There will be a Gimenez family discussion this winter after he closes out his 15th season in pro ball, including parts of 10 seasons in the majors. He knows he could be outvoted.
"Baseball is what I do, not who I am," Gimenez said. "We'll have to see how it goes at the end of the year. If my wife is not going to be able to do it, I'm going to have to be a father and a man and a husband at the same time."
Lefty reliever Andrew Vasquez was a surprise September call-up after posting video-game strikeout numbers at three minor-league levels this year.
A slider specialist who stands 6-feet-6 but lacks an overpowering fastball, Vasquez fanned 14.0 batters per nine innings across 69 1/3 innings this year. That included 71 strikeouts in 36 2/3 combined innings at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester.
Not bad for a former 32nd-round draft pick (2015) out of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Three rounds later the Twins grabbed right-hander Hector Lujan out of the same program in that same draft; on Thursday, Lujan was among eight Twins prospects named to the Arizona Fall League.
Both pitchers are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December, so the Twins are hoping to get a better read on their need to add them to the 40-man roster. Vasquez posted a 1.42 earned run average in 11 Arizona outings last fall.
"He's had a tremendous season," Twins general manager Thad Levine said. "He has really developed. The breaking ball has played extremely well against both righties and lefties, and I think there's some curiosity of what that will look like up here."
Twins reliever Oliver Drake was enrolled for two years at the U.S. Naval Academy while Lt. Jack McCain, son of the late U.S. senator from Arizona, was finishing up his degree.
Drake, who left the academy in 2008 to sign for $100,000 as a 43rd-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, didn't know the younger McCain personally and never had a chance to meet the late Vietnam War hero.
"It's a big loss," Drake said of the elder McCain, who was honored Saturday with a nationally televised memorial service. "He's an incredible human being to go through what he went through and a heck of a fighter and a true hero."
- Eddie Rosario (strained right quadriceps) remained out of the lineup and no determination had been made on his likely absence. Eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason, Rosario is tied with pitcher Jose Berrios for the team lead in wins above replacement (3.6), according to Baseball-Reference.com.
- Triple-A Rochester reliever John Curtiss, an accomplished country-music songwriter and guitarist, will sing the national anthem before Sunday's home game for the Red Wings.