Monday, April 2, 2012 | 2:22 a.m.
It’s an unofficial distinction, but there can be little doubt about it — J.P. Arencibia does the best Tim Kurkjian impersonation in Las Vegas 51s/Stars history.
The Toronto Blue Jays catcher, who played for the 51s in 2009 and 2010, caused a splash on ESPN and YouTube during March when he impersonated the senior baseball analyst during an interview with Terry Francona on the sports network. The clip prompted other major leaguers to give their own impressions of Kirkjian’s high-pitched voice in what became known as “Kirkjianing.”
“He’ll come into the 2012 (season) with a four-bagger already to his credit, thanks to hitting one out of the park with his Kurjian impression,” one columnist wrote.
Arencibia is known for his sense of humor, but he showed promise of having some serious game during the 2011 season. His 23 homers as a major league rookie were the most ever by a Blue Jays catcher, and he was named to the Topps postseason rookie all-star team.
This year, he’s out to increase his batting average — .219, including a paltry .175 between July 1 and Aug. 10. In his defense, he was suffering nagging injuries to his left hand through much of the season.
As a member of the 51s, he was a Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player. He hit 32 homers in 2010, including eight in 10 games from July 2-15 that year.