TORONTO -- Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez still didn’t know before Wednesday’s game when he would make his next appearance for the Orioles, but he said his work day at Rogers Centre was his best of the season.
A decision on Jimenez, who hasn’t pitched in a major league game since July 5 and has been on the disabled list with a right ankle sprain since July 13, will likely come Thursday. He could be activated to start either Saturday or Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Camden Yards, or he could return out of the bullpen.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he hasn’t decided yet.
“He looks like he’s ready to go,” Showalter said. “Those things usually work themselves out. If they don’t, then we have a good problem. … I want to get some more information that the game will give us.”
After throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, Jimenez said he feels prepared to return to the starting rotation this weekend.
“I think it was the best bullpen of the whole year,” Jimenez said. “I felt really good. Everything was where I wanted to be, and the mechanics were good. I think the first thing was that I don’t feel anything in my ankle. And then to get on the mound and throw everything I have, everything was working. All the breaking balls were right there. The mechanics were really good.”
In fact, Jimenez said he concentrated entirely on his mechanics in the session since he has no issues with the ankle.
“That’s the one thing that I feel so good physically that I’m not worrying about anything else,” Jimenez said. “Actually, I was working on and hopefully getting my mechanics where they need to be. Like I said before, my mechanics are a little different than most regular pitchers’ mechanics, but the thing is trying to make it work and be the best I can be.”
Showalter confirmed that right-hander Chris Tillman will start the Orioles’ series opener against St. Louis on Friday — the club would like to keep Tillman on regular rest — but the team must choose between Jimenez, right-hander Kevin Gausman and right-hander Bud Norris for the starts Saturday and Sunday.
Jimenez, who is 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 18 starts this season, said he wasn’t worried about the possibility of going to the bullpen — he has made just one relief appearance in 230 career outings — because he remains confident he will rejoin the rotation.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Jimenez said of the possibility of going to the bullpen. “So I’m not even going to think about it happening because I haven’t heard anything from the one person that [will make] the decision, and that’s Buck. … I’m not even worried about that. I’m not even putting that in my mind.”