Looking ahead to Jimenez’s debut

With no game to obsess over today, we may as well look ahead to Ubaldo Jimenez’s official debut with the Orioles on Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

Jimenez made four appearances in Grapefruit League games while trying to get caught up to the other starters. He allowed nine runs and 15 hits in 15 1/3 innings, with six walks, eight strikeouts and a hit batter.

He also consented to one interview with me for a feature story in the first edition of Orioles Magazine, which will be available at Camden Yards.

In four career starts against the Red Sox, Jimenez has allowed 23 runs in 17 2/3 innings for an 11.72 ERA, with 29 hits, 11 walks, 22 strikeouts and a 2.264 WHIP.

Jimenez has made only one start at Camden Yards, on June 24, 2013 with the Indians. He got the win after allowing two runs - on homers by Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters - and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, with two walks and six strikeouts.

Zach Britton started that game and took the loss. Tommy Hunter replaced him in the sixth.

Lots of changes in one year.

Jimenez has posted a 4.98 ERA in March/April, compared to 3.89 in May, 3.17 in June, 4.11 in July, 4.29 in August and 3.47 in September/October.

Delmon Young wishes that Jimenez had signed with another American League team. He’s 11-for-29 with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs against the right-hander. Nelson Cruz is glad to have Jimenez as a teammate, since he’s 0-for-12 with nine strikeouts.

Dustin Pedroia is 5-for-12 against Jimenez. Daniel Nava is 3-for-6 with three doubles. Mike Napoli is 3-for-4 with a double and home run.

Keep an eye on those guys.

Asked yesterday about his impressions of Jimenez, manager Buck Showalter replied, “That’s a quality human being. This guy’s good people. I’ve heard that. Had a lot of people talk about it. He’s committed to Baltimore.

“If you look at his background, this is the first time an organization’s really stepped out and made the commitment to him in a long period of time, and I think that means a lot to Ubaldo. This is a good human being. Respectful, but at the same time competitive. He’s in a good place right now mentally.”

Also financially. The Orioles gave him a four-year, $50 million contract, the largest in franchise history for a free agent pitcher outside the organization.

If Jimenez is feeling any pressure, he’s not letting it bubble to the surface. Each question is met with a smile and a soft tone to his voice.

“There’s different levels,” Showalter said. “The first time you meet him, he’s throwing on the side and people are (watching). The first time he throws batting practice, the first time he throws in a game in spring training. There’s a different level of want-to as you start this.

“So far, I haven’t (seen it), but we’ll see. The Boston Red Sox have a way of creating some challenges for pitchers they don’t normally see.”

Jimenez seems comfortable in front of a camera. Remember this commercial from his days in Colorado? It’s a classic.

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