The Mahoning Valley star was hit for the 20th time this season.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Chris Gimenez has perfected the art of bean balls, though he's the one getting beaned.
As a standout at the University of Nevada this season, Gimenez led the Western Athletic Conference in hit-by-pitches. He ranks second on the school's all-time list in that category.
Since Gimenez was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 19th round of the June draft and assigned to Mahoning Valley, nothing has changed.
The infielder from Gilroy, Calif., was hit for the 20th time Sunday in the Scrappers' 9-1 victory over Batavia at Eastwood Field.
"He must have a magnet on his shoulder," Scrappers manager Mike Sarbaugh said.
Reaching a record
In the process of being hit Sunday, Gimenez tied the New York-Penn League's single-season record for hit-by-pitches, previously held by former Scrapper Jeff Becker in 2000.
"It's one way of keeping your on-base percentage up," Gimenez said. "If you're on base, you can score runs. That's the most important thing."
So does Gimenez, a right-handed batter who leads the Scrappers with nine home runs, crowd the plate?
"I don't crowd the plate at all," he said. "I'm just one of those guys that if an opportunity presents itself to get myself on base, I'll do anything I can."
Even if it takes absorbing a 90 mph pitch.
"I never have gotten out of the way of the ball," Gimenez added, "and I don't plan on starting anytime soon. It's so natural now that if it's coming at me, I take it and run to first base."
While Gimenez takes pride in his ability to reach base in any way possible, Sarbaugh isn't exactly thrilled with the notion.
"You hate to see one of your better hitters keep getting hit," Sarbaugh said. "Getting hit that much, sometimes you're asking for trouble."
On dealing with the accompanying bumps and bruises, Gimenez said, "You kind of get used to it. Every once in a while you'll catch one real square in the side or back or definitely in the elbow -- I've had quite a few in the elbow -- but you just learn to shake it off."
To explain Gimenez's penchant for being hit, you'd have to look back on his college days at Nevada.
"I think I perfected it there," he said. "My assistant coach was real big on that, and my freshman year I was trying to do anything to stay in the lineup."
Sarbaugh added that Gimenez's inward rotation on his swing sometimes makes it difficult for the batter to avoid pitches up and in.
Gimenez has 19 games remaining to break the league record. If it happens, he probably won't have the most pleasant telephone conversation with his family.
"My parents aren't so big on me getting hit," he said. "My grandpa calls me up every time and reams me out."
Still, the record would be meaningful to Gimenez.
"It's a pride thing for me," he said. "I think of it as being a team guy; I can help somebody out by getting on base. You never know what might happen next."
Gamble lf4120Reyes cf5110
Orr ss4000Finegan ss5122
Jaramillo c3001Gimenez 1b3111
Frith cf4000Butia dh4221
Isaacson 3b4010Toregas c3112
Shimer 1b4010Montgmry lf4010
Crosland rf3000Parker 3b4022
Galloway dh3000Encarnacion rf3110
Buffone 2b3010Clem 2b4100
E--Orr 2, Finegan 3, Isaacson. DP--Scrappers 1, Batavia 2. LOB--Scrappers 11, Batavia 5. 2B--Gamble, Isaacson, Toregas. CS--Buffone. SF--Jaramillo. SH--Parker.
Griffith L, 1-63 2-378132
De Los Santos W, 1-4430004
HBP--by Griffith (Butia), by Correa (Gimenez). BK--Correa. PB--Jaramillo. Umpires--Home, Adam Moscaritolo; Bases, Grant Menke. T--2:33. A--4,925.
HOW THEY SCORED
BATAVIA 1, MAHONING VALLEY 0
Muckdogs: Justin Hoyman pitching. Sean Gamble doubled to left center, Samuel Orr grounded out to second, Gamble to third. Jason Jaramillo hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gamble. Ryan Frith flied out to second. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 left.
BATAVIA 1, MAHONING VALLEY 1
Scrappers: Derek Griffith pitching. Mike Butia singled in the infield, Wyatt Toregas flied out to first. Tim Montgomery singled to left, Butia to second. Brett Parker singled to right, Butia scored, Montgomery to second. Teo Encarnacion walked to load the bases, Montgomery to third, Parker to second. Chris Clem struck out. Argenis Reyes flied out to first. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 3 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 8, BATAVIA 1
Scrappers: Griffith pitching. Montgomery reached on an error by the shortstop, Parker bunted to sacrifice Montgomery to second. Encarnacion walked, Clem reached on an error by the shortstop to load the bases, Montgomery to third, Encarnacion to second. Reyes reached on a fielder's choice, Montgomery out at home, Encarnacion to third, Clem to second. Brian Finegan singled to center, Encarnacion, Clem scored, Reyes to third. Chris Gimenez singled to left, Reyes scored, Finegan to second. Butia singled to center, Finegan scored, Gimenez to second. Toregas doubled to left, Gimenez, Butia scored. Montgomery walked. Jason Martinez in to pitch. Parker singled to left, Toregas scored, Montgomery to second. Encarnacion struck out. 7 runs, 5 hits, 2 errors, 2 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 9, BATAVIA 1
Scrappers: Jose Correa pitching. Pinch hitter Omar Casillas walked, Montgomery reached on a fielder's choice, Casillas to third on an error by the third baseman. Parker hit into a double play, Montgomery out at second, Casillas scored. Encarnacion struck out. 1 run, 0 hits, 1 error, 0 left.