ARLINGTON -- Rays catcher Chris Gimenez has been opening some eyes since being selected from Triple-A Durham on April 15.
The team's backup catcher has appeared in five games, and he entered Friday night's matchup against the Rangers with a .313 average. During Wednesday night's win over the Angels, Gimenez threw out two attempted basestealers, which further endeared him to Rays manager Joe Maddon, who confessed that Gimenez was a better receiver than he initially had thought.
"I always felt like I could be a decent player if I had a chance to play a little bit, because it's tough at any level not to play very often," Gimenez said. "Baseball's all about timing, having that feel and that rhythm. The repetition, the more you can keep that in that game situation, the better off you're going to be, especially at this level.
"I hope I exceed expectations, because I didn't get that chance to really, at least in my eyes, show them [during Spring Training] what I really could do."
Gimenez noted that the last time he was afforded any kind of semblance to regular play was in September, when he played for the Mariners.
"When I came back from my injury, I played a little bit more, which was nice," Gimenez said. "I actually hit really well last September. I tried to carry that over into the offseason. Doing the same things I was doing. Basically doing the same thing during Spring Training and now into the first part of the season. It's been awesome."
Maddon said Gimenez "has done a nice job."
"He did OK during Spring Training," Maddon said. "He's actually done better, I think, here. Calls a good game, blocks well, thrown well. Actually, his at-bats have been better. He's actually swinging the bat better than he did during Spring Training.
"And furthermore, we've talked about makeup and just the kind of guy that he is. He's kind of a tough guy. Not only has he won me over, I think he's won the players over also."