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After Another Difficult Start, What Will Orioles Do With Ubaldo Jimenez?

May 23, 2017
BALTIMORE -- Many times during his troubled four seasons with the Orioles, Ubaldo Jimenez has been a lightning rod for criticism. In the final season of a four-year, $50 million contract, the right-hander is yet again a polarizing figure among the fan base, but certainly not in his clubhouse.
 
Jimenez lost a five-run lead, and while he wasn't the losing pitcher, the Orioles still dropped a 14-7 decision to the Minnesota Twins before 12,882 at Oriole Park May 22.
 
As Jimenez took the mound for the fifth inning, the Orioles led, 6-2, but he allowed hits to the first four batters of the inning, and quickly the game was tied at 6.
 
Right-hander Tyler Wilson, who was called up earlier in the day, gave up six runs in 1.1 innings, and the game was suddenly out of hand.

Jimenez's ERA has soared to 7.17, and the question was obvious: How long will the Orioles stay with him?
 
"Certainly, I understand the production hasn't been there like it needs to be, and if there are adjustments to be made, we'll make them, but I'm certainly not going to talk about things like that in this setting," manager Buck Showalter said. "But I understand this is a question we ask every time we have some consistent struggles at a certain part of our game."
 
In 2014 and 2016, Jimenez was placed in the bullpen, and perhaps that could be an option.
 
"There's always that possibility," Showalter said. "Is it good for the bullpen? That's another question. Those moves were made with Zach [Britton] here, OK? So, there's some different scenarios, but we're going to try to put our best foot forward."
 
Jimenez hasn't won since April 19, when he allowed two hits in 7.2 scoreless innings in Cincinnati.
 
"Of course, I don't feel good about the way I've been pitching. I know it's not enough," Jimenez said.

"They just came out swinging. It was one of those nights where everything you threw, they just found a way to put a good at-bat on it and find a hole."
 
For Jimenez, it's a difficult time, and it will be interesting to see what decisions the Orioles make in the coming days. He knows it's a challenging situation.
 
"It's one of them for sure. But I think I've been there before. I just have to stay positive," Jimenez said. "I know it's not easy. It's not easy, but I'm going to find a way to get back."
 
JONES HAS BIG NIGHT, DEFENDS TEAMMATES: Center fielder Adam Jones hit his record-breaking 125th home run at Oriole Park, passing Rafael Palmeiro.
 
In his 10th season with the Orioles, Jones regularly sets new marks, but he often doesn't comment on them.
 
"I've said a few times, after the season or after my career is over, I'll probably get a good perspective on the accomplishments that I've had during my career, but just go every day, one day at a time," Jones said. "I know it's so cliché, but that's really what I do. I just try and win for that day, and let today be for today and tomorrow be for tomorrow."
 
Jones' three-run homer in the second gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead. Still, Jones said he doesn't want to assess blame when leads are lost.
 
"That's not my concern. That's not my expertise," Jones said. "I play center field. I know that the pitchers are going out there and giving it their all. For me to comment or try and talk bad about them would be out of my character. I'm not the one who's throwing the ball. They're out there grinding their tails off, and I just play defense behind them.
 
"However, they go out there and grind it out; I'm just a guy out there behind them giving it all I've got, so I know it's frustrating for them. They don't want to go up there and allow hits after we put up some runs. I think they have a good staff, good coaches on the pitching side to where they'll figure it out. I'm just there to help them as everybody else on the defense is. Talking about other people's jobs, you open yourself up to a lot of other things that you don't need. I just stand behind our pitchers, and if the ball is hit towards me, I'm going to give it my best to go and catch it."
 
FLAHERTY TO GET PRP SHOT: Infielder Ryan Flaherty, who's on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, will have a platelet-rich plasma injection and head to Sarasota, Fla., for rehab after the Orioles leave for their trip to Houston May 26-28.
 
"Hopefully, it won't take too long. They don't think it's too bad," Flaherty said.
 
Flaherty had a cortisone shot in his shoulder in March during spring training.
 
"It got better for a little while. It's gone back downhill," Flaherty said.
 
Infielder Paul Janish's contract was purchased from Triple-A Norfolk to replace Flaherty, though consideration was also given to Robert Andino, who has a similar skill set to Janish's.
 
"They're both two good options. I'm glad we've got them," Showalter said. "If something happens along the way, I'd be comfortable with either one of them."
 
YNOA OPTIONED: Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who had been on the 10-day disabled with a strained right hamstring since May 6, has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
 
"I think he's going out," Showalter said. "We'd like to get him back out whether it's an option or a rehab assignment."
 
ODDS AND ENDS: Left-hander Zach Britton's rehab continues to progress. Britton's on the 10-day DL with a strained left forearm. "He's right where he's supposed to be," Showalter said. "Right on schedule for the return date." ... The 21 hits the Orioles allowed against the Twins are the most since they gave up 24 hits July 30, 2011. ... The Orioles will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards Aug. 18 and 19. A luncheon featuring players from the 1992 team, including Cal Ripken Jr., Brady Anderson and Rick Dempsey, will be held at the warehouse Aug. 18. Tickets are $100 and can be obtained by calling 410-247-2703. ... Frederick outfielder Austin Hays has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week.
 
COMING UP: Right-handers Dylan Bundy (5-2, 2.97) and Ervin Santana (6-2, 2.07) are scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. May 23.