SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was caught in a large traffic jam, the result of a major accident, and did not make his scheduled start against the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Friday afternoon.
After arriving about a half-hour after the game started, Jimenez pitched two innings of the 7-5 Rockies victory. He struck out all three hitters he faced in his first inning, but gave up four runs on three singles and two walks in his second frame.
An early-morning bus crash along Interstate 10 near Phoenix, with six known fatalities and 15 injuries, resulted in the closure of the highway. Traffic to Phoenix was rerouted, but jams and delays ensued. "I didn't move forever, about three hours," said Jimenez, who nonetheless managed to maintain his smile. "I left around 9 and got here at 1:30, after the game started. I feel good about how I threw. I was throwing strikes. Even the walks were on close pitches." Jimenez, the Rockies' projected Opening Day starter, elected to drive as opposed to ride the bus with the rest of the team. With the manager's approval, a player is allowed to drive as long as he signs a waiver, according to Jay Alves, the Rockies' vice president/communications and public relations. Left-hander Greg Smith, who missed last season primarily with a shoulder injury, started the game in Jimenez's place and threw two scoreless innings.