August 4, 2015

Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Former John A. Logan College pitcher Danny Jimenez is still living the dream of professional baseball.

The St. Charles, Illinois native turned down an offer from the St. Louis Cardinals to play pro ball right out of high school in 2008. He was drafted in the 37th round that year, but chose the college route instead, signing with John A. Logan College, where he would improve his draft status.

As a freshman with the Volunteers in the spring of 2009, Jimenez sported a 6-2 record and 2.01 earned-run average. Largely because of that performance, Jimenez was drafted that summer by the Cleveland Indians, this time in the 23rd round, and accepted the cash offer.

Jimenez then spent the next four seasons (2009 through 2012) in the Indians’ organization before eventually being released.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound lefthander finished affiliated ball with a 15-15 overall record. He then returned home and signed on to play in the Frontier League in 2013 (non-affiliated pro ball) with the Schaumburg Boomers. He spent two years with the Boomers and then hooked up with the Windy City Thunderbolts this season.

Now 25, Jimenez has struggled this summer, posting a 3-7 overall record and 4.45 ERA. On the plus side, however, he has struck out 48 and walked only 28 in 70 2/3 innings of work. Jimenez has not received the best of support from the Windy City offense or defense.

“I try to stay positive,” Jimenez said recently after his team completed a three-game series with the Southern Illinois Miners in Marion. “I don’t want to put the blame on anyone but myself. It’s my job to do the best that I can to help the team win the game.”

Jimenez said he still enjoys the challenge of professional baseball and has not yet given up on his dream of returning to affiliated ball.

“I just like to play,” he said. “If my career ends sooner than I would like, I have no regrets. All I can do for now is keep working hard and hope for the best.”

Jimenez said he also likes offering some advice to the younger pitchers on the team if he is asked.

Recalling his days at Logan six years ago, Jimenez said it was strange to take the mound at Rent One Park against the Miners, the same mound he took when representing the Vols.

“It definitely feels like it’s been a while,” he said. “It was nice to see a lot of the old places I used to see all the time when I went to school here.”

Jimenez said the best advice he can pass along to Logan’s current crop of pitchers is to keep working hard.

“Never give up,” he said. “Because you never know what’s going to happen next. You can have a bad year and then turn things around the very next year and get drafted or signed by a Division I school. Be strong mentally. That’s the key.”

Jimenez added that if his pro career ends soon, he will return to college.


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