In fourth start, Jimenez establishes consistency

Right-hander turns in best performance of Grapefruit League season

In fourth start, Jimenez establishes consistency

FORT MYERS Fla. -- Little by little, Ubaldo Jimenez believes he is getting closer to establishing consistency.

Jimenez turned in his best outing of the Grapefruit League season on Wednesday afternoon against the Twins, allowing two runs on five hits, walking one and striking out four during the Orioles' 3-2 victory. The right-hander also became the first Baltimore starter to pitch into the fifth inning, facing three batters without recording an out before hitting his 75-pitch count limit.

"Especially the last two [starts], I feel really good," said Jimenez, who is pitching with a simplified delivery. "I've been taking what I've been working on in the bullpen to the games. I've had good command of the fastball. That's the main thing with me. Since Day 1, that's what we've been working on, is fastball command."

Manager Buck Showalter agreed that Jimenez has gotten a little better each outing and he hopes that Jimenez can build off the performance as Opening Day gets closer.

"I think so, I hope so," Showalter said of Jimenez making progress. "See what the next one is. We started him early this year to make sure he got as many innings and starts as he could. He's ready to go six innings the next time if the game allows it."

Jimenez said he feels "pretty close" to where he needs to be and has been encouraged with the low walk totals lately.

"I know I still have to go 100 pitches, and that's probably the next one," he said, "but talking about command-wise, the last three games have been pretty good."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.