RHP Kelvin Jimenez, a non-roster invitee is still with the St. Louis Cardinals as spring training nears an end in Jupiter Florida.
Jimenez pitched two perfect innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced in his debut in St. Louis in the first exhibition game of the season when the Cardinals hosted the Florida Atlantic University Owls. It was during this game that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa first took notice of Jimenez.
Since that first game, Jimenez has appeared in seven games for the Cardinals, pitching seven innings and he has still yet to give up an earn run and has struck out five batters while walking only two and La Russa is still paying attention to the kid.
The 26 year old, 6-foot-2, 195 pounder signed with the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in December after spending last season with the Triple-A Oklahoma club in the Texas Ranger's organization. Jimenez made 26 appearances, all in relief, in an injury plagued season that included a right hand contusion and a couple of trips to the disabled list with a right elbow strain.
This spring Jimenez is healthy and pitching perhaps the best baseball in his career. The Rangers signed him as a non-drafted free agent in May of 2000. After seven seasons in the Texas organization, he's posted a career record of 28-40 with a 4.13 ERA. He's pitching more better than his past record would suggest, surpassing all expectations this spring, as he hangs on with the Cardinals down to the wire for opening day.
Jimenez came into camp and was ready to pitch on day one, after playing in the Dominican Winter League for team Estrellas. Jimenez went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five games (7.0 IP/3 ER).
There isn't much of a chance that'll he make the club out of spring training, but as long as you are in uniform, anything can happen, even for Jimenez who has never even made an appearance in a Major League game, but if he keeps pitching like he has been in Florida, he's likely to get an opportunity very soon.