Ubaldo pondering playing winter ball

Ubaldo pondering playing winter ball

Ubaldo pondering playing winter ball
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ubaldo Jimenez feels that pitching during winter ball, even a handful of innings, has helped him in the past. That is one reason why the Indians are considering allowing the starter to play in his native Dominican Republic this offseason.

"We want to have the discussion with him," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said, "and weigh the relative benefits and risks around it. If it's something that he feels is important for him heading into next season, and feels he'll benefit from it, we're certainly open minded to that."

On Sunday, Jimenez said that he is currently planning on suiting up for Tigres del Licey at some point during the coming winter. If Licey makes it to the postseason, Jimenez said that is when he would probably pitch for the ballclub.

Jimenez, who did not participate in the Dominican Winter League last offseason, believes working in games for Licey helps prepare him better for the early stages of Spring Training.

"Especially two years ago," Jimenez said. "It gets me ready to go to Spring Training. This year, I got to Spring Training and then I had to get ready. The years before, after I [played] winter ball, when I [got] there [I was] already ready."

Jimenez, 27, has gone 10-11 with a 4.49 ERA in 30 starts between the Rockies and Indians this season. Cleveland acquired the right-hander for a package of four players, including top pitching prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Last season, Jimenez went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in a breakout campaign for Colorado.

"Before he came over here, he expressed some interest in doing it," Indians manager Manny Acta said of the possibility of having Jimenez pitch over the winter. "He did it [two years ago], and he felt it helped him out. We're going to look over all those possibilities.

"If it does help him come into Spring Training to work on whatever, we're fine with it."

Helping matters is the fact that Jimenez projects to finish this season with fewer than 200 innings, after logging at least 218 in each of the past two seasons.

"That plays into it some," Antonetti said. "But, I think, ultimately what we want to try to do -- our whole focus -- is to try to help players to be in a position to be successful the following season. Some guys feel that winter ball is an important part of that."