Carroll County Times

Jimenez sharp in first start

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Baltimore Orioles wanted to make sure Ubaldo Jimenez was ready for his first start. Jimenez, who the Orioles signed to a four-year, $50 million contract last month, made his debut on Friday and looked terrific, retiring all six batters he faced.

While Baltimore pounded out 16 hits in its 15-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies before 7,297 at Ed Smith Stadium on Friday, it was Jimenez who was the big story.

Jimenez struck out three in his two innings.

"I was excited. I'm like I'm going to be there for the first time wearing the Orioles uniform. I was very excited, but I was like, I have to get it under control because usually when you try to do too much, things get out of hand and throw a lot of balls," Jimenez said.

"I feel good, but I know I'm not 100 percent like most of the pitchers are right now. They're probably a week ahead of me, but I feel fine. I'm getting there. I've been doing some routines that they want me to do in order to get ready for the season, and that's what I'm doing."

Miguel Gonzalez, whose Thursday start was pushed back because of a rain out, was hit in the left leg by a comebacker on his third batter in the fifth inning.

Gonzalez left the game and was diagnosed with a bruised leg, but bench coach John Russell said it didn't look to be serious.

"He looked like he walked off the field fine, so I would say he's going to be all right," Russell said.

Nick Markakis was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a triple. J.J. Hardy had three hits and two RBIs. Ryan Flaherty, Jemile Weeks and Matt Wieters each drove in two.

"It's a tough lineup to go through," Russell said. "It's one after the other, and we can get rolling pretty quick."

Baltimore scored six runs against A.J. Burnett, who they tried to sign over the winter as a free agent.

The Monkton resident wasn't pleased when the subject of the Orioles was broached.

"I already answered all those questions," Burnett said. "I'm a Phillie now, so that's where I stand."

NO MACHADO COMMITMENT: Manny Machado has been moving laterally and running over bases, two signs of improvement for manager Buck Showalter.

Machado is supposed to see his surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache in the middle of the month to re-evaluate his left knee after his surgery in October.

Showalter doesn't want to make a commitment to Machado playing at any specific time.

"Everything he's supposed to be able to do at this point, he's doing. He's not ahead of schedule. He's not behind schedule. He's on schedule," Showalter said.

"What that is, if it's the day after Opening Day, if it's Opening Day, if it's a month after Opening Day, we just don't want any setbacks, and we have not had any setbacks yet."

MOURNING MONICA: Showalter led a group of 30 players and team officials who flew to Virginia to offer their condolences to the family of team public relations director Monica Barlow, who died Feb. 28 of cancer at 36.

Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters left the game after five innings for the flight. The team was expected to return to Sarasota late Friday night.

COMING UP: The Orioles play the Boston Red Sox in a pair of split squad games on Saturday. Bud Norris and Evan Meek pitch in the afternoon game in Sarasota against Henry Owens, Noe Ramirez, Tommy Layne, Alex Wilson and Dalier Hinojasa. In the evening game at Fort Myers, Kevin Gausman and Josh Stinson face Brandon Workman, Jose Mijares, Andrew Miller, Brayan Villareal and Miguel Celestino.

GONE: The first cuts of spring training were made. Left-hander Mike Belfiore was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Left-handed pitcher Nick Additon and right-hander Tim Alderson were reassigned to minor league camp.