Ubaldo likely to return to O's rotation this week
WASHINGTON -- Ubaldo Jimenez feels good after making his second rehab start and expects to return to the Orioles later this week.
The starting pitcher, who has been on the disabled list since July 13 with a right ankle injury, threw 94 pitches for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday and allowed one run on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
"He got his work in, got his pitch count up," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Not a lot better [than last time], just better, which you expected."
Jimenez will travel with the O's to Toronto for their three-game series with the Blue Jays that begins on Tuesday and could be activated any time after Thursday.
The Orioles haven't officially announced any starters past Thursday. Chris Tillman would be slotted for Friday if Baltimore stays on schedule with its current five-man rotation. Jimenez could pitch on Friday on regular rest as well, although he could get some extra rest ahead of his first Major League start in more than month.
"[We'll] see how he feels tomorrow with it, take his work day when he needs to and we'll see how it slots out after Thursday," Showalter said.
Neither Showalter nor Jimenez envisions a scenario with Jimenez in the bullpen, but the O's starters have been excellent in Jimenez's absence. Since June 10, Orioles starting pitchers rank sixth in the Majors with a 3.13 ERA.
Jimenez, who signed a four-year contract for $50 million this offseason, is 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA and leads the American League with 60 walks this season. Last season, Jimenez posted 1.82 ERA in the second half after struggling to a 4.56 mark before the All-Star break.
"I wouldn't call it a problem to have a good situation," Showalter said of his apparent pitching surplus.