SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) Ubaldo Jimenez is hoping that 2015 is a complete turnaround from 2014.
A year ago, Jimenez signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles when spring training was already underway.
He then had a forgettable season, losing his spot in the starting rotation and wasn’t even on the roster for the American League Championship Series.
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Jimenez was 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA. He walked 77 in 125 1/3 innings and spent a month on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
In his second year with the Orioles, the right-hander is vowing that things will be different, much different this time around.
Jimenez is one of six starters competing for five spots. Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman are the others.
”Hopefully, everything changes and I’m going to be able to compete better and be able to give the team a chance to win. Last year was a disappointing year. It was a really bad year,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez signed late because teams didn’t want to lose a draft pick for signing him. Finally, Baltimore stepped in and gave him the contract he wanted, but he lost preparation.
”It changed everything because I didn’t prepare as I used to. I didn’t throw bullpens until I came here to spring training,” Jimenez said. ”I didn’t throw in a game. I didn’t throw anything.”
The worst part of it for Jimenez was his wildness. He walked four or more batters eight times in 22 starts. Late in the season, pitching coach Dave Wallace suggested that Jimenez make some mechanical changes, and he pitched better.
”Once I saw everything was working, I was staying with it and I’m not changing anything.” Jimenez said. ”I’m not trying to be like, `Oh no, this is not my mechanics. I’m going to go back.’ No. I’m going to do everything that’s made me better.”
So far in spring training, Jimenez has thrown two bullpens, and manager Buck Showalter believes there are some things to get excited about.
”Ubaldo’s been very engaged. He’s got a little burn going,” Showalter said.
After Jimenez returned from his injury last August, he didn’t pitch any better than he had before he was hurt. Showalter didn’t want six starters, and he sent Jimenez to the bullpen.
This year, there’s no talk about relief pitching. He worked out hard this offseason and came to camp after throwing at the Orioles’ complex in Jimenez’s native Dominican Republic.
”I went there and threw bullpens and then I threw a live batting practice to make sure when I got here my mechanics would be a little bit better,” Jimenez said.
NOTES: RHP Steve Johnson, who is in spring training on a minor league contract, suffered a bruised right middle finger and did not throw on Monday. . INF Jayson Nix, signed to a minor league contract last week, arrived in camp on Monday.