PHOENIX -- Luis Jimenez sat before his corner locker in the Angels' clubhouse Saturday morning, pounding a wooden mallet into the pocket of a new first baseman’s glove to soften the stiff leather.
The mitt was a gift from fellow Dominican Albert Pujols. And if Jimenez learns to use it quickly enough it could earn him an invitation to the big leagues sometime this season.
“We want to see his versatility,” Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. “This guy has looked really good at third base. To help us, we all feel that it’s important for him to … show he can play first base. Because in the batter’s box he can swing the bat and has shown he can drive in runs.”
The experiment didn’t go well in Saturday’s Cactus League game against Oakland, with Jimenez botching a second-inning grounder that led to a run. But the fact that the Angels are trying him at first shows that Jimenez, who hit .302 in six minor league seasons, is still in the hunt for one of the two remaining berths on the opening day roster – or for a call-up early in the season.