ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With six starters in the rotation, as well as Thursday's scheduled day off, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was able to have an extra work day before his next start Friday against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Jimenez has struggled to maintain consistency this season, going 2-8 with a 4.86 ERA in 14 starts, but he has pitched better with extra time between starts.
In two starts with six days' rest this year, Jimenez has a 2.13 ERA, compared to a 5.40 ERA in his other 12 starts. And his best start of the season, when he threw 71/3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out 10 batters against the Minnesota Twins on May 2, came after six days' rest.
Before that start, working closely with pitching coach Dave Wallace — and having two work days — helped Jimenez to make an adjustment on how he placed his foot on the rubber. Jimenez has an unconventional delivery that can get out of whack quickly.
"I hope [it helps]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Some people say, 'Well then is it too far away from pitching?' In his case, he's responded well to it, so we hope it happens again. Any time they get a little extra time with Dave, I'm for it. He's one of the best. It's a hard delivery to coach through, but his track record's been pretty true through the second half of the season. We're going to try to trust that."
Jimenez hasn't had much success against the Yankees in his career, going 1-4 with a 6.67 ERA in five starts against New York, including a 1-2 record and 5.09 ERA in three starts at Yankee Stadium.
Around the horn
Shortstop J.J. Hardy, who has won an AL Gold Glove in back-to-back seasons, committed his eighth error of the season Wednesday. Seven of his eight errors have come in the last 14 games after he had committed just one error in his first 49 games this year. … Radio broadcaster Fred Manfra, who has been out since he underwent hip replacement surgery in April, has targeted July 1 as his return date, broadcast partner Joe Angel said during Wednesday's game on WBAL Radio (1090 AM). … Showalter knew ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett, who died suddenly at age 38 on Tuesday, when he was a young sportswriter with the Dallas Morning News. "Crushing," Showalter said. Two young kids, and he was really making great progress, too, in his career. … It's another one of those things, you want to know why?"