CINCINNATI — New assistant hitting coach Jobel Jimenez, 44, has been to Busch Stadium before, being called up by the Cardinals last September to spend time with the big club after serving as the Class AA Springfield hitting coach.
But, when he goes to Busch on Monday night, he will be there as a Cardinals coach for the first time.
Jimenez, whose dream to be a big-league player was squashed early when he lasted only two seasons (1993-94) in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, said the thrill is the same now.
“My dream was to be in the big leagues at some point,” he said. “But I was working to try to be better and try to help the guys and not think about, ‘I’m going to do this because I’m going to get to the big leagues.’”
Jimenez, who had been working with outfielder Randy Arozarena among others as the Memphis hitting coach, was told by Cardinals player development director Gary LaRocque on Monday that Arozarena was going to the big leagues.
“But, at the same time, he said, ‘Be ready, because you’re going to fly with him (to Kansas City).’ After a moment’s pause, LaRocque said, ‘You’re going to be the new assistant coach.’
“I couldn’t even imagine that,” Jimenez said. “I was in shock.”
One of his first moves was to call his wife in Memphis.
“She started sweating and she said, ‘This is really happening,’” he said.
Jimenez was promoted to help hitting coach Jeff Albert when assistant hitting coach Mark Budaska was fired.
“Jeff and I always talk before we go to the (batting) cage,” Jimenez said. “We try to send the same message because if you’ve got an idea and you don’t talk to the (main) hitting coach . . . maybe we’re not on the same page and the players are confused.”
Manager Mike Shildt said Jimenez’s “communication skills are very, very good.”
When the Cardinals’ season is over, he will move on to be the hitting coach for the Venezuela team in Taiwan for the Premier 12 international tournament in November.
WOODFORD, BADER SHINE
Memphis righthander Jake Woodford blanked Iowa on one hit over six innings Friday and center fielder Harrison Bader had two doubles, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Outfielder Dylan Carlson, just called up to Memphis, also had two hits.
• Memphis infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson, who had a couple of brief tours with the Cardinals this season, is recovering from left elbow surgery. Shildt said he thought the lefthanded-hitting Robinson, who is on the 40-man roster, will be ready for spring training.