Jimenez to pitch spring opener

SARASOTA— Ubaldo Jimenez will start the Orioles first Grapefruit League on Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla. against the Detroit Tigers, manager Buck Showalter announced on Thursday.

“Last year was tough,” said Jimenez who went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in first year of a four-year, $50 million contract with Baltimore. “This is the beginning of 2015 and I’m excited to be part of the first game.”

The way the Orioles schedule lines up, Showalter said that Jimenez could be on the “gray pants schedule” that means he would pitch a lot of road games. The right-hander pitched just once away from Sarasota last spring, but said that doesn’t matter much to him.

“It’s part of the game,” Jimenez said. “This year if that’s how it has to go down ill take it. It’s baseball you have to get ready for everything.”

Jimenez, who has used a more simplified delivery this season, will be watched closely as getting him back on track would be huge for the Orioles. The team also has six starters vying for five spots in the rotation, making it one of the more interesting storylines in camp.

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