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Ubaldo's impact could be far-reaching

Ubaldo's impact could be far-reaching

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Ubaldo's impact could be far-reaching
CLEVELAND -- When the Indians were shut out of the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Chris Antonetti shifted his sights and reeled in the next-biggest fish in the trade waters, Ubaldo Jimenez.

The Tribe's pitching staff had already provided plenty of push during the first four months of the season, and the addition of Jimenez bolstered an already-adept rotation. Now the Indians hope competition within the staff breeds even more success.

"I think the team feels good that the front office went out and made a move to make us better," said pitching coach Tim Belcher. "That always makes a team feel good. We're being rewarded for what we've done for four months, and the front office is going to try to put us over the top and get the pieces and parts necessary to do it."

On Wednesday, in his first start at Progressive Field as a member of the Indians, Jimenez allowed just three unearned runs in eight strong innings. Belcher said that Jimenez's presence could motivate Fausto Carmona, who has been weaving his way through a roller-coaster season.

"I think the addition of Ubaldo is really going to help [Carmona]," Belcher said. "I think that's going to create a little bit of friendly competition within the rotation that's going to help him, especially, and the others. Fausto's kind of been the guy here for the last few years since CC [Sabathia] and Cliff [Lee] have gone other places. Now, all of the sudden, someone is here with top-of-the-rotation stuff."

Manager Manny Acta said that Jimenez's arrival could also take some pressure off Justin Masterson, who has been the club's de facto ace this season. Masterson (9-7) has been hurt by a lack of run support, but his ERA (2.71) ranks fourth in the American League.

"Despite Masterson pitching the way he has pitched for us, the majority of the people from the outside world see Ubaldo as a No. 1," Acta said. "But Masterson has been a No. 1 for us this year. He can easily benefit from that and not have everybody else's perception that he's a No. 1."

Aside from the boost Jimenez can provide the rest of the rotation, Belcher is excited to see what the right-hander can do for himself. Jimenez began the 2010 campaign with a 15-1 record for Colorado and finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting, earning the nickname "Cybaldo" among Rockies fans.

"Why wouldn't you call him that?" Belcher said. "We hope we see that Ubaldo here in the next couple of years. The next couple of months will do fine."

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