Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Jimenez Impresses in Debut

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Jimenez Impresses in Debut

Article excerpt


ORIOLES: The new ace of the staff strikes out three over two innings

On Friday afternoon at blustery Ed Smith Stadium, the wind was blowing out.

And Ubaldo Jimenez was dialed in.

Exactly three weeks after signing a four-year, $50 million contract to anchor the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation, Jimenez looked to be in mid-season form during his spring training debut.

Facing six hitters that the Philadelphia Phillies will likely feature in their Opening Day lineup, Jimenez allowed no runs and no hits in a crisp, two-inning performance that saw the 6-foot-5 right- hander strike out three and walk none in a game the Orioles won handily, 15-4.

"It was definitely exciting to be wearing an Oriole uniform for the first time," said Jimenez, who sported his trademark high socks while enjoying solid command of his slider, splitter and a two-seam fastball that averaged 91 miles per hour.

"I felt good out there today. I was able to relax, not try to do too much. Just keep things under control and throw strikes."

After gunning down leadoff hitter Ben Revere on a slow-roller to open the game, Jimenez recorded three consecutive strikeouts with three different pitches, getting Jimmy Rollins to chase a 1-2 splitter and Domonic Brown to take a belt-high two-seamer to close out the first inning. Then he snuck a back-door slider past Ryan Howard for a called-third strike to open the second.

"In the first inning, I was trying not to overthrow. That's something I told myself -- don't try to throw too hard, just get it over the plate," said Jimenez of a frame that saw the former 19- game winner throw 12 strikes and 5 balls.

Jimenez retired Marlon Byrd on a liner that right-fielder Nick Markakis (single, two doubles, triple) speared at the warning track, and got Bobby Abreu on a routine fly to left to close out his 25- pitch outing.

"You always want to make a good first impression. …

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