Orioles' Ubaldo Jimenez to 'find a way to compete' in spot start Tuesday night

NOTEBOOK

September 14, 2014|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez hasn’t made a start in nearly a month — and he has made just two relief appearances since then — but he said he’s ready for Tuesday’s spot start against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“The only thing I can do is think about that game and go out and do my job,” Jimenez said. “That’s why I always have the same approach. I don’t think about that I haven’t pitched in a while or anything like that. I have to go out there and find a way, find a way to compete, find a way to do my job.”

Jimenez last pitched Aug. 31 — when he allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base in mop-up duty in a 12-8 win over the Minnesota Twins — but he said he has remained fresh by throwing bullpen sessions every two to three days, mostly after games. He also threw a three-inning simulated game in which he threw about 60 pitches.

Even though he hasn’t made a start since Aug. 16 on the road against the Cleveland Indians, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he thought starting Jimenez would least disrupt the bullpen dynamic — he was selected over left-handed relievers T.J. McFarland and Joe Saunders. It also gave Jimenez, who is a long shot to make the postseason roster, an opportunity to build on something positive at the end of the season since he is signed for three more years.

“You know what, the same thing we’re doing right now as a whole team, it hasn’t been that difficult because we’re winning,” Jimenez said. “We’re here for the same thing. If it wouldn’t be like that, it would be hard. It hasn’t been that hard because we’ve been winning.”

Jimenez has been open about struggling to adjust to a bullpen role. Prior to his last two appearances, he hadn’t made a relief appearance since his major league debut in 2006.

“I’m happy about it because that’s the thing I’ve been doing my whole career,” Jimenez said about starting Tuesday. “To have an opportunity to start, I’m happy.”

Around the horn

Showalter said he still expects third baseman Manny Machado to rejoin the team during next weekend’s home series against the Boston Red Sox. … The Orioles entered Sunday night’s game having won 10 of their last 13 series finales and were 29-19 series finales this season. … Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who is scheduled to start Monday’s series opener against Toronto, is 7-2 with a 3.80 ERA in 15 home starts, but is 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays. He allowed four runs over five innings in his only start against Toronto this season on Aug. 6. … Showalter said he might adjust the starting rotation following Thursday’s day off in order to give some starters additional rest. He previously announced that right-hander Kevin Gausman would start Friday’s series opener against Boston, giving him six days’ rest since his last start.

eencina@baltsun.com

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