Ubaldo Jimenez said this spring that he is much better than what he showed in 2014.
At least for one night, he proved it.
Facing a tremendous offense in the Toronto Blue Jays, the embattled Jimenez was brilliant Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 38,897 at Camden Yards. He retired his first nine batters, allowed a single to Jose Reyes and then retired eight more. After a two-out walk, he shut down four more Blue Jays batters before his evening ended.
In seven superb innings, Jimenez didn't allow a run, gave up only one hit and one walk and struck out eight. His fastball was cutting all around the strike zone and he was hitting his spots with his breaking pitches.
This from a guy who signed a four-year, $50 million deal before the 2014 season and then posted a 6-9 record and a 4.81 ERA. This from a guy who walked 77 and struck out 116 in 125 1/3 innings last year. This from a guy who was left off the ALCS roster and went home, deciding not to remain with his teammates.
Jimenez has plenty of work to do to repair his reputation – but Saturday, in his first start in 2015, was definitely a step toward that goal.