Ubaldo dealt to Indians
SAN DIEGO — The Rockies have traded ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who has thrown the only no-hitter in club history and was the first pitcher to start an All-Star Game, to the Cleveland Indians for four prospects, although one — pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz — can not become official until next month.
The Rockies will immediately receive pitchers Alex White and Joe Gardner, and first baseman-outfielder Matt McBride. Pomeranz cannot be traded until next month because he was drafted last year, and Major League Baseball rules say a player cannot be traded until one year into his professional career.
The retooling Rockies would be receiving the Indians’ top picks in 2009 in White and 2010 in Pomeranz.
Word of the deal filtered into the public just before Jimenez started on Saturday against the Padres at PETCO Park. It did not go well. Taking the mound with right-hander Esmil Rogers warming up in the bullpen, Jimenez gave up four runs on two hits and four walks. He struck out two in a distracted, 45-pitch inning.
After a slow start during which he dealt with a torn thumb cuticle and hip flexor and groin issues, Jimenez has pitched well for 10 of his last 11 starts. Jimenez is 6-9 with the result of Saturday’s game pending, and with a 4.46 ERA. Last year, Jimenez threw a no-hitter on April 17 against the Braves, started the All-Star Game for the National League and finished 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA and set numerous club records.
The deal is considered a game-changer in the American League Central, where the Indians are battling the Tigers, who also were in the running for Jimenez. The Reds, Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays also were involved in talks with the Rockies.
Pomeranz, the fifth overall pick in 2010, was was 3-3 with a 1.98 ERA in 18 starts this season between Class A Kinston and Double-A Akron. Over 91 innings, the lefty struck out 112 and walked 38.
White, who was the Tribe’s top pick in the ’09 Draft, has been on the 60-day disabled list with a right middle finger injury. In three starts for Cleveland this year, he went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA.
As the deal was nearing fruition, Pomeranz was scheduled to start for Arkon, and White was slated as the starter on Sunday for his first rehab assignment. Both were pulled before Saturday’s game started.
Gardner, a third-round pick in 2009, is 7-8 with a 4.99 ERA in 19 starts at Akron. Last year, Gardner went 12-6 with a 2.65 ERA at Class A Kinston and was a postseason Carolina League All-Star.
McBride, a supplemental pick in 2006, has hit .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs at Akron, and hit .156 with one home run in 45 at-bats at Triple-A Columbus. Before moving to first base and outfield this year, McBride caught for much of his professional career.