CLEVELAND -- There were mechanical issues that the Indians wanted Ubaldo Jimenez to work on throughout Spring Training, but the ballclub has reached a point where it simply wants to see the right-hander consistently throwing strikes.
During Saturday's 7-4, 12-inning loss to the Blue Jays, Jimenez was sharp over seven innings, putting a subpar Spring Training behind him. During the spring, the righty concentrated on being more consistent with the stride at the onset of his delivery. Indians manager Manny Acta said the team is not worrying too much about the pitcher's mechanics right now.
"We felt that he did make some progress," Acta said. "But that's something that we're not going to be banging on him every five days. It's tough. It's called muscle memory. Once you've done something a zillion times, you just can't grab a guy and say that you've got to do this with your arm or you've got to do that."
Jimenez posted a 7.43 ERA in Cactus League play this spring after turning in a string of inconsistent outings after being traded to the Indians from the Rockies last July. Throughout his spring struggles, Jimenez insisted to both Acta and the media that he would be fine once the regular season arrived.
That certainly looked to be the case on Saturday, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Toronto and limited its lineup to two runs on one hit.
"I asked him a couple of times and he said, 'I'm going to be fine,'" Acta said of their conversations in Spring Training. "He said, 'This is Spring Training. I'm just working on some stuff. I'm going to be OK.' No one is saying that every five days he's going to pitch like [he did Saturday], but he felt pretty confident that he was going to be OK. He gave us some peace of mind [Saturday]."