Ubaldo aims to reduce long counts, add innings

Ubaldo aims to reduce long counts, add innings

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ubaldo Jimenez is trying to pick up where he left off at the end of the 2016 regular season. Last September, Jimenez was 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA in five starts, and threw the Orioles' first complete game in two years on Sept. 5 at Tampa Bay.

Jimenez made his first spring start of 2017, allowing one run on three hits in two innings against the New York Yankees on Monday.

"I was commanding the fastball and keeping the ball down. I think that's what I did. I was able to get a lot of ground balls. I still have to get a couple of my breaking balls over," Jimenez said.

In the first inning, Jimenez allowed a single to Austin Romine. The ball was hit to first baseman Mark Trumbo, and he couldn't handle it, but it was scored as a hit. After a double by Greg Bird, Romine scored on Aaron Judge's fielder's choice.

Jimenez wasn't upset by the miscue.

"It's part of the game, especially this time of year. We're here a little bit early, so it takes a little bit [longer] for everybody to get ready," Jimenez said.

He threw 29 pitches in two innings, and he's trying to reduce the number of deep counts.

"I think that's what I was able to do in the last part of the season. That was attacking the strike zone, getting ahead and staying ahead. That's going to save me a lot of pitches and going to allow me to get deeper in the games," Jimenez said.

It was the first time Welington Castillo caught his fellow Dominican.

"[Castillo is] great. He's great," said Jimenez. "I forgot about it, but I realized he caught me a couple of games in the Dominican Winter League in 2010. We're on the same page. He's a good guy. He wants to learn every day. He works hard. He's going to do everything possible to do the best for the team."

Rich Dubroff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.