Veteran Pimentel gives Birds' pitching "Snake Eyes"
Canaries pitcher Carlos Pimentel with the '17 Lincoln Saltdogs. Photo by Lincoln Journal Star.
SIOUX FALLS -- "Ace Pimentel" doesn't have quite the same ring as "Ace Ventura," but Sioux Canaries manager Mike Meyer feels he is "blessed to have two true aces" in his 2021 rotation.
Former Triple-A pitcher Carlos Pimentel signed with the Birds on Friday, joining fellow minor league veteran Angel Ventura, who officially came aboard Feb. 23 in a trade from the Milwaukee Milkmen, who outsted the Birds in the 2020 American Association Finals.
So, perhaps we should call the two aces, "The Snake Eyes," which is what you have when you hold two aces in a hand in a game of poker. Other nicknames we could call the duo that apply in that situation, according to the internet -- which never lies -- are:
* The Bullets
* The Pocket Rockets
* The Needles
* The Two Pips
* The TeePees
* American Airlines
* Alan Alda
As much we'd love to constantly reference the man who played Hawkeye Pierce on the 70's hit show M*A*S*H, as much as the first three options might appeal to our inner 12-year-old, and as much as we love Gladys Knight, "The Snake Eyes" has a bit more bite to it.
("American Airlines" is a possibility if we could swindle an endorsement deal with the powerful commercial jet carrier. We're here, American Airlines!)
Anyway, back to Pimentel, a 31-year-old righthander who has logged 1,106 innings in 10 seasons of affiliated minor league ball, including 400 innings in Triple-A and 351 frames in Double-A.
In 13 seasons at all levels in the minors, Pimentel has won 100 games, sported a 4.10 ERA, and struck out 1,376 batters while giving up just 155 home runs in 1,533 innings. The Dominican Republic native has also spent nine of the last 10 winters playing professionally in his home country, where his ERA is 3.69.
"Carlos is a true professional who knows how to win and adds another veteran presence to our lineup, and he'll give us a chance to win every fifth day," manager Mike Meyer said.
"He has that rare combination of being a high strikeout guy who doesn't give up many hits, which is ideal for our ballpark and division."
Like most of the thousands of minor league ball players in America, Pimentel did not pitch in 2020, when all of affiliated minor league baseball was shut down.
The previous three years, Pimentel threw for the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association (2017) and two teams different teams in the Atlantic League (Long Island Ducks in '18 and Sugar Land Skeeters in '19). During those stints combined, he went 18-11 with a 4.02 ERA and struck out 226 while giving up just 106 runs and 20 home runs.
The Texas Rangers signed the undrafted 17-year-old Pimentel in 2007 and brought him up to Triple-A in 2013 before trading him in 2014 to the Chicago Cubs organization. The next three seasons were spent mostly in Triple-A -- including 2016 with the San Diego Padres system.
The "Snake Eyes" -- Pimentel and Ventura -- have combined for 2,330 professional innings and over 2,100 strikeouts. They join a 2021 Canaries rotation that includes returning 2020 Birds pitchers Kevin Folman, Ty Culbreth, and pitching coach Grady Wood. Added to the mix are young flame throwers Robbie Gordon, Jackson Maynard, and Kolton Ingram.
To read more about all of these 2021 signings, plus the loaded lineup of both new sluggers and mashers who powered 2020's most potent American Association offense, click here.
The Canaries open the 2021 season on May 18 at The Birdcage against Winnipeg, the first of 56 games at home through the season finale on Sept. 6. Click here to see the schedule.
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