SARASOTA, FLA. -- The Orioles made their four-year deal with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez official on Wednesday afternoon, setting the stage for a Thursday morning press conference to introduce the club’s top free-agent acquisition.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Jimenez, the Orioles designated right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks for assignment.

“We’re looking forward to him joining,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.  “I’m not going to say [he’s] competing for a starting job. I don’t want to insult your intelligence. He brings something we’re in need of. Not very often do you get a guy at this age with some good seasons behind him and good seasons ahead of him.

“He’s got a chance to be a quality pitcher for us for a long period of time. A lot of guys at this stage in their career start figuring it out. I’m very confident in he and [pitching coach] Dave [Wallace] that he’s going to give us some quality innings.”

The 30-year-old Jimenez -- who is one of the top free-agent starters on the market this offseason --  was 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts for the Cleveland Indians. He had at least 31 starts in each of the last six seasons and compiled 182 or more innings in five of his last six seasons.

Hendriks was claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs in December. Last season, he was 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA in 10 games with the Minnesota Twins. He was also 4-8 with a 4.67 ERA in 16 starts with the Twins’ Triple-A team. Hendriks entered camp competing for a rotation spot at Triple-A Norfolk to begin the season.

He could return in a matter of days. If Hendriks clears waivers, he could be outrighted and return to big league camp as a non-roster player. But the past three times he’s been placed on waivers, Hendriks has been claimed.

eencina@baltsun.com

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