Felix Hernandez isn’t the only Venezuelan representing the Seattle Mariners organization this All-Star week.
But he’s the only one who hasn’t reached his 30th birthday – not to mention the only one with a major league uniform to put on after All-Star week is over.
Luis Antonio Jimenez and Guillermo Quiroz, both past their 20s, will make their first All-Star appearances today when they represent the Tacoma Rainiers in the Triple-A All-Star game in Buffalo, N.Y.
Jimenez, from Bobare, Venezuela, turned 30 in May, and Quiroz, from Maracalbo, Venezuela, turns 31 in November, but both have been getting the job done in Tacoma as a pair of veterans on a roster loaded with young players.
Jimenez and Quiroz have watched Alex Liddi, Carlos Peguero, Mike Carp, Casper Wells, Miguel Olivo and Franklin Gutierrez accumulate at-bats with both the Mariners and Rainiers this season (some for injury rehab assignments), while they have spent all their time tearing up the Pacific Coast League.
Jimenez will be the starting designated hitter for the PCL team, while Quiroz is a reserve catcher.
Jimenez leads the Rainiers in batting average (.318), hits (90), RBI (52), on-base percentage (.412) and slugging percentage (.530).
Quiroz, who played part-time most of the first half, stepped up when Adam Moore was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
In Quiroz’s third stint with the Seattle organization, he is on pace for a career-best season with a .307 batting average and a .528 slugging percentage.
Quiroz spent the 2009-10 seasons with the Mariners organization and 2006 before that.
His longest stint with any organization since being signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 was 56 games with the Baltimore Orioles in 2008. He batted .187 with two home runs and 14 RBI that season.
This is the first time the Rainiers will be represented by two players in the Triple-A All-Star game since Chris Shelton and Brian LaHair were invited in 2009.