Ubaldo tabbed for Grapefruit League opener

Using simplified delivery, right-hander eyes bounce-back season

Ubaldo tabbed for Grapefruit League opener

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ubaldo Jimenez will start the Orioles' first Grapefruit League game on Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla., against the Detroit Tigers, manager Buck Showalter announced on Thursday.

"Last year was tough," said Jimenez, who went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in the first season of a four-year, $50 million contract with Baltimore. "This is the beginning of 2015, and I'm excited to be part of the first game."

The way Baltimore's schedule lines up, Showalter said that Jimenez could be on the "gray pants schedule," meaning he would pitch a lot of road games. The right-hander pitched just once away from the club's Spring Training complex last year, but he said that doesn't matter much to him.

"It's part of the game," Jimenez said. "This year, if that's how it has to go down, I'll take it. It's baseball. You have to get ready for everything."

Jimenez, who will use a more simplified delivery this season, will be watched closely, as getting him back on track would be huge for the Orioles. The team also has six starters vying for five spots in the rotation, making it one of the more interesting storylines in camp.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.