SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez’s second spring training start didn’t go nearly as well as his first.
After retiring all six hitters he faced, including three on strikeouts, in his spring debut against the Philadelphia Phillies five days earlier, Jimenez struggled against the same team Wednesday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.
Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Orioles last month, allowed four runs and four hits over two innings, walking three batters and striking out none in the 50-pitch outing.
"It was a tough day,” Jimenez said. “[It was] the first time I got to pitch from the stretch in a game, and it got the best of me. I couldn't find a good release when I got from the stretch. And that was after the leadoff guy got on base right away, so it was a little bit tough to get in a good rhythm."
He battled with his control throughout the outing, constantly falling behind hitters and grinding through a 36-pitch first inning.
"It doesn't matter where you are, in spring training or wherever, you never want to give up runs,” Jimenez said. “But this is spring training, and that's where it's going to stay. There's nothing you can do about it. I got my work in. You're never happy to give up runs, but you're here to get your work done and get your arm ready for the regular season."
Jimenez loaded the bases four batters into the game after allowing a leadoff single to Ben Revere and issuing walks to Freddy Galvis and Ryan Howard. Domonic Brown then laced a full-count pitch into the right-center field gap for a two-out, three-run triple.
The Phillies added another run off Jimenez in the second inning with back-to-back, two-out triples by Revere and Galvis.
"I was probably a pitch away from closing the inning, especially in the first inning with the bases loaded,” Jimenez said. “I got two outs. But it happened. I left a pitch high, and he got a good swing on it."
Left-hander Zach Britton relieved Jimenez in the third inning and quickly struck out Howard and Darin Ruf -- on three pitches each -- and snagged a liner by Brown for the third out.
Despite the short outing, Jimenez was able to increase his pitch count by throwing an additional 15 pitches in the bullpen after he left the game.
Around the horn
After winning seven consecutive games, the Orioles have dropped two straight. … Showalter said he wanted to use left-hander Zach Britton in a one-inning relief role to see how he handled it. Replacing Jimenez in the third, he needed just six pitches to strike out Howard and Darin Ruf and induced a liner back to him for a perfect inning. Britton’s sinker was sitting at 95 mph. … Nolan Reimold was 2-for-3 on Wednesday with a two-run homer. Reimold will start going to the club’s minor league complex to get more at-bats Thursday because there’s a Double-A and Triple-A game there at Twin Lakes Park. … Down to the Orioles’ final out, infielder Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer to bring the Orioles within one, his second of the spring. … De Jesus was 3-for-12 in 11 games this spring. … South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon is expected to return from getting his work visa in Canada on Thursday morning. Yoon is scheduled to make his spring debut Saturday. He couldn’t pitch in a paid attendance game until he received his visa. … Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro will work at minor league camp with right-hander Eddie Gamboa for six days, starting yesterday. … Right-hander Ervin Santana, a free-agent target of the Orioles, agreed Wednesday with the Atlanta Braves on a one-year deal reportedly worth $14.1 million. Asked for his reaction later in the day, Showalter said: “We signed Santana,” referring to rehabbing two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. …The Orioles announced Wednesday that they will offer an exclusive incentive for those fans attending Saturday's Tag Day to purchase a partial season plan. The club will provide $50 in vouchers to any fan purchasing two seats in a 13-game plan at the event. The vouchers can be redeemed beginning April 1.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun