Rockies don’t mind Ubaldo pitching winter ball … if he’s still with them
Chances are if the Rockies end up receiving an offer they’ll accept for right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, it’ll be close or at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But if the Rockies aren’t blown away and they hold onto him, his preparation for 2011 will be different.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Jimenez said he will pitch in the Dominican Winter League for Licey, something he has done for most of his career. The club has been asking some Latin American players to back away from winter ball in recent years, fearing it causes additional wear and tear.
But after Jimenez suffered a cut on his thumb cuticle in Spring Training and also battled leg muscle issues, then missed time early in the year with the cuticle injury, he has decided pitching in the winter actually reduces risk because he is more ready for the season.
“Yeah, for sure it got me ready. This year, when I got to spring training I was getting ready for the season,” Jimenez told the AP. “But a year before when I played winter ball I went to spring training already ready.”
Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told the AP: “Sounds like a great idea.”
How available is Jimenez, exactly? Jon Heyman of SI.com says via Twitter it’s a “Justin Upton-esque trial balloon.” During the offseason, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said even Upton was available in a way of saying anything was on the table when it came to improving the club. Of course, the D-backs are a surprise National League West contender, and Upton is a key reason.
In another Trade Deadline-related story, foxsports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter that teams are interested in backup first baseman and pinch-hitter Jason Giambi, but Giambi would like to stay with the Rockies. According to Rosenthal, the team will consult Giambi before making a deal.