SEATTLE — Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (right ankle sprain) threw a two-inning, simulated game before Friday’s game against the Seattle Mariners and is scheduled to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week.
Since Jimenez last pitched July 5 in Boston, lasting only 3 1/3 innings, manager Buck Showalter said he likely will need at least two rehab starts before he can come off the disabled list.
“The big thing is how he responds [Saturday] if he comes in … [with] no swelling and doesn’t have any discomfort,” Showalter said. “He feels good. The first thing he said when he came off the mound was, ‘What’s next?’ He’s ready to go. He’s ready to get this started, but he’s going to have to get some innings.”
If healthy, Jimenez is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday for short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He’ll also likely make a second rehab start with a higher-level minor league affiliate.
Jimenez threw 44 pitches in Friday’s simulated game, with roughly 20 in each inning. He simulated game-like conditions by coming back to the dugout and resting for five to 10 minutes between innings as he pitched to outfielder David Lough and coach Einar Diaz.
“I was able to throw all of my pitches, most of them for strikes,” Jimenez said. “I felt good out there. … Definitely facing hitters for the first time in a long time feels good. I’m going down the right path. It went fine today.”
Jimenez said Friday was a significant step toward rejoining the Orioles’ rotation.
“I didn’t have any problems with my ankle,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t have to think about it. Facing hitters isn’t the same as throwing a side. You don’t have anybody at home plate. … I think on a day like today, you’re going to get a good feeling, whether everything is OK or not.”
Around the horn
Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings for Low-A Delmarva on Friday, recording five strikeouts and one walk. Harvey allowed one earned run in three of his previous four starts for the Shorebirds. … Orioles sluggers Adam Jones and Chris Davis have combined for 186 homers since the start of the 2012 season, the most by any pair of teammates in that span. Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are second, with 177. … After recording their eighth shutout win of this season Thursday, the Orioles are on pace for 13 shutouts. That would be their most since recording 16 in 1992. … The Orioles entered Friday’s game leading the American League and tied with Cincinnati with a .988 fielding percentage. Their 48 errors are tied for the second fewest in baseball, behind the Reds’ 46. … Catcher David Freitas, who along with Jemile Weeks was part of the trade for Jim Johnson, was transferred to Double-A Bowie from Triple-A Norfolk.