Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black was asked Monday morning about Ubaldo Jimenez and where he might fit in the Rockies pitching staff.
The Colorado Rockies have several candidates to fill in their last two spots in the starting rotation after German Marquez, Jon Gray, and Kyle Freeland as well as some of their bullpen spots. One of the candidates is Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez, 36, hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since he pitched for the Baltimore Orioles in 2017. The former Rockies ace signed with the Rockies in early February on a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training in hopes of returning to baseball and, perhaps, even the Rockies major league pitching staff.
Even though the Rockies have a few openings in the rotation and the bullpen, Rockies manager Bud Black indicated that Jimenez, if he makes the team, will be a starting pitcher.
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"“I think he’s here as a starting pitcher,” said Black in his Monday morning presser (h/t Rockies PR team). “We have 10, 12 guys who are starters. You can’t start them all [but] they all gotta pitch at some point but I’m sure as the spring goes, we’ll get him [another] start or two but I think he’s here to back on the mound as a starting pitcher.”"
Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry published his 26-man roster man roster predictions on Monday morning before Black’s comments and he predicts that Jimenez will make the Rockies rotation.
On Monday, though, Jimenez was used in relief of Jon Gray, who made his spring training debut against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria. Jimenez allowed two hits, a walk, and a run in two innings of work on Monday. The one run came on the walk to Dee Gordon, a stolen base and a throwing error by catcher Drew Butera, and Evan White drove Gordon in with a single. White was retired, though, on an inning-ending double play. Jimenez retired the side in order in his second inning of work.
After the game, Bud Black spoke to the media again and talked about Jimenez’s outing.
"“I like that he kept the ball down,” said Black. “The stuff was in and around the knees, both the fastball and the split-finger and the slider so it’s going to be a process for Ubaldo to get back into real season game shape but he’s gaining on it. It’s good to see.”"
Jimenez also spoke to Thomas Harding of MLB.com after the game as well and he explained what he thought the issue was that he had in his first inning of work.
"“In the first inning, I was…trying to be too fine…After that, I was able to get back [on track]. I was sinking it…and getting groundballs.”"
After his second outing and four innings of work, Jimenez has an ERA of 4.50 with four hits and two runs allowed.
Time will tell on whether or not he will be the answer for the Rockies in the starting rotation but if he does make the team, it will likely be in the starting rotation.