Chris Gimenez, one of Nevada's top players the past three years, is expected to leave the Wolf Pack to sign a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians drafted Gimenez in the 19th round (557th overall), and the Nevada junior expects to sign a contract later this week that will pay him a $38,000 signing bonus plus tuition to finish up his schooling at Nevada.
Gimenez, who expects to be assigned to the Indians' Rookie League team in North Carolina by next week, hit .314 with 14 homers and 49 RBI this year. He was one of three Wolf Pack players to play in all 59 games. In three years at Nevada, Gimenez hit 30 homers and drove in 103 runs enroute to hitting .327 in his career.
"I got something pretty good for the round I was drafted in," Gimenez said from his home in Gilroy, Calif. "This was something I've wanted my entire life.
"I didn't have the best of year. Going into it (the draft) I wasn't expecting anything too great. I sat there and watched all the rounds go by (Monday), and watched all the guys from our league that were drafted. I just figured I would go back to school and have another year to prove myself a little bit. The next thing I know, the Indians called me. The next thing you know, another team (Toronto) called me."
Toronto actually offered Gimenez a little more money. The Wolf Pack star said he turned down16th-round offers by Texas and Pittsburgh because the signing bonuses were only around $25,000.
Gimenez said leaving Nevada and his teammates wasn't an easy decision because he believes that the Wolf Pack will have a good squad next year. In fact, he expected teammate Jacob Butler to be drafted before him. Butler hit a team-leading 16 homers and drove in 58 runs.
"That was the tough part of the decision," Gimenez said. "Jacob and I are good friends. I called him and asked him what he thought I should do. We had made a little pact to go together or not go together unless it was a real good offer."
No doubt he'll be missed at Nevada. His departure leaves coach Gary Powers with two starting outfield spots to fill. Brian Gazzero graduated this year.
"I certainly would like to have him back," Powers said of the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Gimenez. "I want what he thinks is best for him.
"He (Gimenez) is more developed physically. Jacob is slighter of build. We have to get him bigger and stronger. Jacob is stronger than he looks. He doesn't have a thick body."
Powers also indicated that the Indians may move Gimenez to catcher, which is the position Powers originally recruited him for out of high school. Because of the emergence of Brett Hayes, Gimenez has seen little action behind the plate.
"I'm ready (if that happens)," Gimenez said. "I caught bullpens a lot this year. Coach (Chris) Briones was keeping me ready and told me if I signed I'd be a catcher. I'll have to get used to it again. It takes a while to get sharp again."
Another adjustment for Gimenez will be using a wood bat.
"I've used one quite a bit actually," he said. "I used one in batting practice everyday except on game days. Hopefully it will make the transition easier. I feel comfortable with it right now."
Among other players drafted were Reno High pitcher Chris Rickey, who has signed with Nevada. Rickey was picked in the 40th round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Also drafted was former Carson Capitol Joe Jacobitz, a University of San Francisco outfielder. Jacobitz was drafted in the 25th round by the Seattle Mariners.
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281.