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Orioles' Ubaldo Jimenez throws bullpen session, does agility drills Wednesday

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez took a step forward in his recovery from a right ankle sprain that has kept him on the disabled list since July 13, retroactive to July 8.

Jimenez threw a 35-pitch bullpen session before Wednesday's game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim and performed some agility drills that tested his lateral movement on the ankle.

"It went good," Jimenez said. "I was able to get on the mound and throw all my pitches. I was able to throw from the stretch and the windup, and they made me do a couple drills, running drills, to make sure I'd be able to go to first base. … I feel really good. I'm happy to be able to be on the mound and be able to throw from the stretch and windup and not feel anything."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the session was encouraging.

"That's the best he's felt," Showalter said. "Did a lot of agility drills, moving around. We will see how he feels tomorrow. … That was encouraging."

Showalter said Jimenez's next step would be to pitch to live hitters before Friday's game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, but the manager said he didn't want to get any further ahead of that step. Jimenez likely will remain with the team through the end of the road trip, which ends Sunday.

"We've got a plan in place after today … but we are not there yet," Showalter said. "[Let's wait] until he gets through that session on Friday. He's obviously going to need to go out and pitch in a game situation."

Jimenez said he finally felt like he was able to drive off his back foot with power and without worrying about the ankle.

"I was able to get on the mound without thinking that it's going to hurt," Jimenez said. "That's the No. 1 thing that you try to get out of your head, and knowing that you are up there trying to get people out and not that something is bothering you."

Jimenez, who was eligible to return from the DL on Wednesday, hasn't pitched in a game since the second game of a doubleheader in Boston on July 5. As he gets further away from pitching in a game, he might need more rehab assignment starts before he returns.

"Right now it's more of a health issue," Showalter said. "[But] I think everybody needs to pitch. That's why we sent guys to Norfolk and Bowie to pitch. There's no substitute for a ball in your hand in a competitive situation against people in a different uniform. There's a different level when you come back here. He has to do that, he knows that. He may have to do that more than once."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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