Ubaldo feels good despite another tough debut

Like last spring, Jimenez opens by allowing six runs in short start

Ubaldo feels good despite another tough debut

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez was the first to admit Wednesday's Grapefruit League debut wasn't aesthetically pleasing.

"It doesn't look pretty at all, but I think I feel good because my arm feels really good. I was able to work on the things I wanted to," said Jimenez, who was charged with six runs over one-third of an inning in an 11-4 loss to the Braves. "Even before the game, I wanted to throw my changeup and my curve, and I started to throw my split and slider for today, and that's what I did. Actually, two of the hits they got were from changeups. Like I said, it wasn't pretty, but I felt good being on the mound and trying to get hitters out."

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Jimenez, who was tagged with three runs after he left the mound, gave up six hits and walked three batters before manager Buck Showalter made a switch. It was eerily similar to last year's first spring start, in which Jimenez allowed six runs -- five of them earned -- in 1 1/3 innings at Lakeland, Fla.

"I even feel better than last year, the first one that I had last year," Jimenez said. "Mechanically I'm feeling good, and I went to the mound and I wasn't thinking about mechanics. I was thinking about throwing inside with the fastball and working on the curve and changeup that I didn't use a lot last year."

Jimenez had a great spring after that Lakeland outing last year (going 3-3 with 4.44 ERA in seven starts overall) and carried that momentum into a fantastic first half of the regular season.

"What I'm most interested in is his first start in Baltimore. 'Cuz that's when it starts," Showalter said. "I trust him. He's been around. He's pitched a lot of innings. He's been a healthy horse for a long time, and we expect him to be again, take the ball very fifth day. There's something to be said about that. My most interest is when the bell rings."

Showalter said he doesn't take much from early Spring Training results, noting the wind was strong on Wednesday and that Jimenez was just getting his work in.

"I thought he was pretty close," Showalter said. "I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock into the statistical fact. It's one of those Spring Training games where you throw a lot of it out.

"I might throw out the second [start] too, depending on the field and the conditions. I don't pay a lot of attention to it right now."

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