If Ubaldo Jimenez pitches as he has in spring training, the Indians will have a viable major-league starter. The confident and controlled Jimenez that I've watched twice under the clear blue Arizona skies is real. He's the Jimenez who can win 12 to 15 games for the Tribe this season. He's definitely not the 100-mph flame-thrower who was 19-8 with Colorado in 2010. But can he be the Jimenez who was 15-12 (3.47) in 2009, or even 12-12 (3.99) with the Rockies in 2008? I wondered that while watching Jimenez pitch for the second time this week, allowing three runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Kansas City Royals. This is a different Jimenez, a pitcher who works quickly and generally throws strikes. As manager Terry Francona has said several times this spring, "His stuff is good enough." Jimenez has a fastball in the 92 mph range. His slider is sharp, his curve is mean enough to make the front knee of any right-hander buckle a bit as it starts at the hitter's head and breaks over the plate. Jimenez was shelled for five runs in two innings on March 2. Since then, he's thrown 26 innings, striking out 18 and walking five with a 3.86 ERA. Solid numbers in the desert where the dry air flattens out breaking balls and the wild winds give fly balls a boost.
Ubaldo Jimenez has a good spring and a confident look entering 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Mar 30