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Danny Jimenez puts broken finger behind him

Danny Jimenez puts broken finger behind him
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Many Cleveland fans may have tarnished memories of pitchers with finger issues. Few can forget Adam Miller or Alex White, but Lake County Captains’ reliever Danny Jimenez isn’t concerned about his.
 
Jimenez recently joined the Captains after spending the start of the season in Arizona rehabbing a fractured finger. The injury occurred during the first game of spring training as Jimenez took a line drive off his hand, though he thought it was merely bruised at first. The training staff didn’t think the injury appeared too serious either, but x-rays said otherwise.
 
“I went in to the training room, they said let’s get an x-ray, I found out it was broken, and the next day they said you’ve got to go to Cleveland to get surgery,” Jimenez recalled. “Kind of all happened in a span of 24 hours.”
 
The rehab process took about four months to complete from surgery to throwing, but Jimenez says his finger hasn’t given him any more issues since.
 
“It’s good, I haven’t felt anything ever since surgery,” he said. “I started throwing and throwing bullpens, in the game I felt great so I haven’t had any problems.”
 
With the injury behind him, Jimenez is ready to move forward and get back into the groove of the game – but first, he’s still trying to adjust to life in Lake County.
 
“It’s definitely a different culture, a different change,” he noted. “But I’m enjoying it so far, especially being back here. You know, getting used to the locker room and everything, it’s just a whole different experience.”

Jimenez spent last season with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers, where he was an All-Star. Through 17 games, Jimenez posted a 4-3 record and 2.39 ERA while striking out 50. This season, he posts a 6.35 ERA through just two appearances.

The biggest difference between Mahoning Valley and Lake County is the length of the season, according to Jimenez.

“Mahoning Valley is only two and a half months, this is obviously a full season,” he said. “I think that first year gives you a good experience of what it’s like in the first two months, but coming here is a whole different experience, playing six months.”

The difference, however, is a positive one. Jimenez feels like he has certainly moved up a notch in the system.

“I played in Mahoning last year, and just here being in the locker room, it’s more spaced out, and it’s not overly cramped,” he noted. “You feel like you’re at the next level.”

Now, Jimenez is focusing on his mechanics and his leg drive off the rubber.

“I’m working on a slider and my delivery to try and use my legs more so I can get more tilt and just not use my whole upper body and get the stress off my arm,” he revealed.

Captains’ manager David Wallace likes what he sees in Jimenez’s work.

“He’s got some good work in with Jeff [Harris],” Wallace said. “Danny’s a smart pitcher, he’s an intelligent guy. He’s not afraid to confront his limitations and that’s what it takes – adjusting those and getting better.”

Wallace would like to see Jimenez work on getting his fastball down in the strike zone in addition to throwing his breaking pitches with more accuracy. Wallace knows the adjustments will take some time as Jimenez shifts back everyday baseball.

“Since he’s coming off an injury, we’re going to give him time to get back in the groove. We know we like him as a pitcher; the fact he’s left-handed, we like that as well. We just want him to go out and continue to get better.”

Jimenez says he’s feeling better and is confident in his pitches as he feels he has good control of them. “I have three pitches I can throw for strikes,” he said. “I’m just trying to compete and do the best I can. This last month and a couple weeks left of the season, I’m not really trying to blow it by everybody.”

The season may be winding down, but Jimenez is still keeping his sights on the present. He’s had thoughts about the future, but knows that taking it one day at a time is what counts.

“I can’t really look too much forward,” he said. “I haven’t played all year so I can’t really look at it that way, but you are kind of interested in on what’s going to happen.”

With the future still ahead, Jimenez is happy to just take in the experience and opportunities he’s been given. His biggest goal for the remainder of the season?

“Keep getting better every day,” he said. “Try to get my pitches back where they were last year and just make sure my mechanics are back to where they were. Try to improve every day and just try to promote my overall game.”

Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.

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