The Rockies are 12-4 and have not gotten a victory from ace Ubaldo Jimenez. He'll be activated from the disabled list to start Tuesday against the Giants, and the Rockies will be looking to him to help even the three-game series after the Giants pounded Esmil Rogers and won 8-1.
Jimenez pitched with a cut right thumb cuticle on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks, but his command and velocity were affected as he allowed seven hits, six runs, five earned, in six innings. He wasn't involved in the decision as the Rockies lost 7-6 in 11 innings.
Rather than risk an arm injury with Jimenez, who was altering his grip to make pitches against the Diamondbacks, the Rockies put him on the disabled list to let his thumb heal.
"That's not a place where you want to be, especially at the beginning of the season," Jimenez said. "I was really excited for Opening Day, for the first moment of the season. You don't want to get hurt, but this is part of the game. You have to find a way to fight through and get back on the mound. That's the thing. You want to be out there. You want to do your thing, too. You want to feel part of the team, like you're giving something to the team."
Jimenez is just over a year removed from his -- and the franchise's -- first no-hitter April 17, 2010, at Atlanta. That was part of a 15-1 start for Jimenez, who finished 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA. The rest of the starters went 39-44 with a 4.61 ERA.
"He basically carried us, and we were getting heavy at this time last season," manager Jim Tracy said. "It was our time to do a little something for him.
"I can tell you this, and promise you this, that he's champing at the bit, and in his own subtle way that he does things, he'll probably send a wonderful message back to us... 'Thanks for holding the fort down until I could get back.'"
Jimenez will take the mound following consecutive short outings from the Rockies starters. Alan Johnson made his major league debut and lasted four innings against the Cubs on Sunday, giving up five runs, four earned. But four relievers combined to pitch five scoreless innings and the Rockies won 9-5.
Rogers gave up eight runs in three innings, but Clayton Mortensen, making his Rockies debut, stepped up with six scoreless innings to allow the bullpen to regroup. The Rockies lost for just the second time this season in a nine-inning game. As they have so often in the past, the Rockies will again be looking for a lift from Jimenez, who threw 85 pitches and five innings in an extended spring training game April 13 but is realistic about his arm strength at this point.
"I'm not going to throw as hard as I did this time last year," Jimenez said. "I haven't been able to let it go in a while. I have to get my back in shape in order to throw hard again like I used to, but it doesn't have to be that hard. As long as you have good movement and good location, it doesn't matter how hard it is."
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