Ubaldo has plenty of velocity in Tribe debut

Ubaldo has plenty of velocity in Tribe debut

Ubaldo has plenty of velocity in Tribe debut
ARLINGTON -- Rumors of the demise of Ubaldo Jimenez's fastball have been greatly exaggerated. At least that appeared to be the case in Friday night's 8-7, 11-inning loss, when the newly-acquired Indians starter featured plenty of heat on a scorching night in Texas.

When Cleveland obtained Jimenez in a five-player swap with Colorado before Sunday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the right-hander joined the Tribe amid plenty of reports about his diminished velocity. In his sporadic five-inning debut for the Indians, Jimenez's one constant was impressive pitch speed.

"It's coming back," Jimenez said. "You'll know when it's back."

Texas pitchers have taken to calling the radar gun inside Rangers Ballpark "The Humbler" due to its low readings. On Friday night, however, Jimenez's pitches routinely registered between 94-98 mph. Entering the outing, the righty was averaging roughly 93 mph on his fastball -- down from 96 mph last season.

According to PitchFX data, Jimenez averaged 94.9 mph and topped out at 97.7 mph with his four-seam fastball in his debut for the Tribe. When firing his two-seamer, Jimenez averaged 93.8 mph and topped out at 95.4. He said on Saturday that his fastball felt better than it has all season.

That said, Jimenez struggled mightily with his fastball command.

In five innings, Jimenez logged 108 pitches (63 strikes) and allowed five runs on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked three.

"The ball was moving too much," Jimenez said. "I think I was too excited."

Indians manager Manny Acta has repeatedly noted that Jimenez suffered from a variety of health woes early this season. He dealt with a groin issue as well as a right thumb injury, which affected his velocity early in the year, according to Jimenez.

"I know what it was," Jimenez said. "The [Rockies] knew what it was. It was because of my groin and my finger."

Acta echoed that explanation.

"It's been well-documented that, when he first started the year, he wasn't healthy," Acta said. "We all know, when this guy is healthy, what he can do. The world saw it last year. He's young. He's 27 years old. We're going to have him under control for 2 1/2 years. Those are the things that made us go for [the trade].

"People talk about velocity and all that, but when you drop from 97 to 95 mph, you're not losing much. Now, when you drop from 97 to 88 mph, now that's something to be concerned about."