Jimenez DFA'd as Gomez returns from DL

Jimenez DFA'd as Gomez returns from DL

CHICAGO -- His own poor start at the plate and the Brewers' poor position in the standings conspired to cost Luis Jimenez his roster spot Saturday, when the team designated the infielder for assignment to make way for center fielder Carlos Gomez's return from the disabled list.

Claimed off waivers from the Angels just before Halloween, Jimenez played stellar defense at third base throughout the spring, but has yet to consistently showcase a bat which produced 58 extra-base hits, including 21 home runs, at offense-friendly Triple-A Salt Lake last season.

Including Spring Training, he has batted .169 in a Brewers uniform, including a 1-for-15 start to the regular season.

"This is just a matter of fit," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Unfortunately, we thought the season would go differently so far and I would use him in a different role. Because we're always behind, his role hasn't become important. I didn't think it would be that way."

That role was as a late-inning defensive replacement at third base, where the Brewers are trying to protect Aramis Ramirez's aging legs. They had hoped to use the slick-fielding Jimenez to help protect late leads.

But that plan was set before the team lost 18 of its first 23 games. Jimenez was also to get some starts at first base, but that did not happen because Adam Lind was among the Brewers' only hot hitters in April.

Jimenez started two regular-season games at third base and received his other plate appearances off the Brewers' bench. He had been outplayed by other members of the bench, including Hector Gomez and Jason Rogers.

"[Jimenez] never got a chance to really show what he could do offensively, and that bothers me," Roenicke said. "The guy had a fantastic year last year at Triple-A. I would have liked to have seen it. I would have liked to have given him enough at-bats.

"I know in Spring Training he struggled, then he started swinging the bat well at the end. I would like to see him get some games in and see what he could do out there. Because if he can do it [hit], you've got a great player."

Jimenez turned 27 in January.

If he clears waivers, the Brewers could assign Jimenez outright to a Minor League affiliate. The move opened a spot on the Brewers' previously full 40-man roster.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.