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Yoon, Jimenez could answer pitching questions

SARASOTA, Fla. -When the Baltimore Orioles pitchers reported to camp last Wednesday, there were a number of questions. Six days later, there are fewer questions.

Suk-min Yoon took the field Tuesday. Ubaldo Jimenez could follow Wednesday or Thursday.

Yoon's signing was made official Monday. Jimenez, who agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract, was in camp to take a physical.

Manager Buck Showalter said he had done some homework on Jimenez, who was traded from Colorado to Cleveland in July 2011.

He chatted briefly with Jimenez during a busy day.

"I've heard a lot of stuff about him. I've picked a lot of brains of people who have had him recently and in the past. I know when he's been real good and when he's had some struggles. I feel like I have a pretty good idea coming in what's happened in the past. I'm more interested in the future and the present," Showalter said.

Jimenez's addition completes a likely starting staff that includes Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris.

Yoon, whose introductory press conference was held Tuesday afternoon, may have to go to the bullpen instead of starting.

Manager Buck Showalter said he would wait about 10 days before he can judge whether Yoon would be a better starter or reliever.

The 27-year-old South Korean said he decided to come to the U.S. to challenge himself. After nine seasons with the KIA Tigers, Yoon wanted the major leagues.

"I had better offers in Korea," Yoon said through Tad Hun Yo, his agent who served as his interpreter for the news conference.

"My determination to pitch in the U.S. hasn't changed. In the MLB. That was the ultimate decision-maker. It wasn't necessarily about the money, it was about the opportunity to be competitive and play in the best league in the world."

Yoon signed a three-year, $5.575 million contract that could earn him more than $13 million if all incentives were earned. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that those incentives were based on starts.

A year ago, Yoon, who was named the Korean Baseball Organization's most valuable player in 2011, had shoulder tendinitis. He went to the bullpen. It was because the other closers were unreliable, Yoon said.

He may have to do that again.

"I want to work hard, look good in front of the manager and pitch well so I have an opportunity to start," Yoon said.

Yoon was in the clubhouse for the first time Tuesday, threw about 30 pitches from flat ground and ran sprints. He is getting familiar with his new teammates, but said he knew all about Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak.

Pitching against the best excites him.

"You have the most elite players here in the United States in MLB, so I have to adjust to that. Pitching to the top hitters in the world," Yoon said. "I don't feel that I'll succumb to that type of pressure. I know how I can pitch."

Showalter listened intently during the 20-minute news conference, and when it was over, he helped Yoon on with his No. 18 jersey.

A little while later, he talked about his new staff.

"There's always a form of competition. There are spots and a ranking so to speak. They're just competitive people. That's what they do. So many things can change between now and the end of spring. You pitch well and its nothing but good for you. It can make for a good problem. [That's] what we hope happens," Showalter said.

NOTES: Miguel Gonzalez, who hasn't thrown since Friday due to back spasms, says he's feeling better and could throw a bullpen session Wednesday. Reliever Kelvin De La Cruz's sore left hamstring is better, and he should be able to work Wednesday. ... Infielder Alex Gonzalez and outfielder Xavier Paul reported Tuesday. Outfielder Francisco Peguero and Rule 5 draft pick infielder Michael Almanzar were the only players not on hand by the time the team worked out Tuesday. Peguero did report later in the day. The first full-squad workout is Wednesday.

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