SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Chris Gimenez will likely be Willson Contreras’ backup this year with the Cubs.
Gimenez has played for five teams (Indians, Mariners, Rays, Rangers and Twins) over a nine-year major-league career.
So he’s been around. And yet, you might still have questions about how to pronounce his last name.
I’ve got an answer for you, found in this 2009 article published shortly after he made his big-league debut with Cleveland:
It’s G as in George not G as in gorge and certainly not J as in Jose, even though that appears to be the most common mispronunciation.
So that would make the correct pronunciation “JIH-muh-nehz,” which is the way I’ve heard it from Sloan Park PA announcer Tim Sheridan.
Gimenez, for his part, at least appears to have a sense of humor about it, noted in this quote from the 2009 article:
”Even when I say it to people, they don’t listen,” Gimenez said. ”I have to spell it out. I feel bad for my fiancee, because she’s going to have to spell it to people, too.”
Gimenez grew up south of the Bay Area in Gilroy, California, and while his name is of Spanish derivation, he’s several generations removed from the name’s origin as “Jimenez”:
”When my great-grandfather came over here from Spain, we think that when he got to Ellis Island, they changed his name to make it sound more American,” Gimenez said.
Would he ever change his name back to its original spelling and pronunciation?
”If I ever did something like that, my dad would rip me a new one,” Gimenez said. ”When people say it wrong, I take it with a grain of salt. There’s no reason to change it.”
So now you know. And Gimenez has already made a positive impact on the Cubs on the field. From Friday’s cubs.com recap:
Catcher Chris Gimenez was busy. He nearly picked off a batter at first and was credited with a caught stealing when Kaleb Cowart tried to steal home in the third. Usually Willson Contreras catches Lester, but Contreras has not played since Tuesday because he’s battling a fever. His status is day to day.
Lester complimented Gimenez for his pitch calling in the third against Luis Valbuena, who the lefty struck out to end the inning.
”The sequence was great for a guy who has never caught me,” Lester said.
Looks like he’ll make for a fine backup catcher and good clubhouse addition. The Cubs will have to make room for him on the 40-man roster before spring training ends.