Jose Lima's back: Lima Time in Long Beach!
It's Lima Time once again. Jose Lima, the irrepressible pitcher and entertainer forever in search of his next major league appearance, has signed with the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden League.
Lima got a lot of mileage from his five-hit shutout of the Cardinals in the 2004 playoffs, the Dodgers' lone postseason victory between 1988 and 2008. Lima went 13-5 for the Dodgers in 2004, then 5-16 for the Royals in 2005. He has not won a major league game since then and has not pitched in the majors since 2006, but Times columnist T.J. Simers caught up with Lima last summer, when he was pitching for an independent team in Camden, N.J.
Press release from the Armada follows:
The Long Beach Armada of the independent professional Golden Baseball League (GBL) have announced that they have agreed to terms with former Major League All-Star pitcher Jose Lima on a player contract for the 2009 season. Lima, who won 21 games in a season with Houston and was fourth in the Cy Young voting, pitched in the major leagues for the New York Mets in 2006, was the top pitcher in the Mexican League in 2007, and pitched in the Korean professional league in 2008. He will join Manager Garry Templeton's Long Beach Armada squad that has sent 17 players back to major league organizations including five last year and Cincinnati Reds' big leaguer Adam Pettyjohn.
"I'm excited to have Jose Lima pitching for us this year," said Long Beach Armada Manager Garry Templeton. "His experience, skill, and leadership will be a great benefit to us. I'm glad that we have the opportunity to showcase his skills and give him the chance to rejoin a major league club."
Lima, 36, broke into the major leagues as a 22-year old rookie with Detroit in 1994 and was traded to the Houston Astros a few years later where he became one of the most successful and flamboyant starting pitchers in the major leagues. He was a National League All-Star in 1999 and went on to pitch in three National League Division Championship Series. In 2004, he went 13-5 for the Los Angeles Dodgers and threw a complete game against St. Louis in the NLDS, which was the first Dodger playoff victory since the 1988 World Series. Well known for his colorful personality and entertainment skills, Lima would regularly have crowds chanting his name when he pitched, had the term "Lima Time" coined by the media to describe his unique presence while playing, sang the national anthem at major league games, has recorded as a bachata musician, and even had Fantasy League strategies named for him.
"It will be a lot of fun for our fans to experience the passion and joy that Jose brings to the game," said Long Beach Armada General Manager Tony Soares. "We will definitely have special promotions and fan activities on the nights he pitches and give the Armada faithful lots of 'Lima Time!' "
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Jose Lima celebrates after striking out a St. Louis Cardinals batter during Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 9, 2004. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times