Rockies Non-Roster Invitees: Ubaldo Looks to Resurrect Career Where it Began
Ubaldo Jimenez is looking to return for a final fling in the big leagues where his professional career began -- with the Rockies. The lanky right-hander, who turned 36 in January, is among 21 non-roster players the Rockies have invited to camp.
In addition to Jimenez, the Rockies invited five other free agents who signed minor league contracts after appearing in the big leagues last season -- left-handed pitcher Tim Collins (Chicago-NL, Cincinnati), catcher Elias Díaz (Pittsburgh), outfielder Mike Gerber (San Francisco), and infielders Chris Owings (Kansas City, Boston) and Eric Stamets (Cleveland).
Among the invitees who appeared in the big-league with the Rockies last year are right-handed pitchers Joe Harvey, Tim Melville and Wes Parsons, and catcher Drew Butera.
Jimenez, who threw the only no-hitter in franchise history, made his first appearance in a sanctioned professional game in two years during the winter when he pitched Licey in the Dominican Winter League this off-season. He was 1-4 in eight starts, compiling a 3.03 ERA. In 29 1/3 innings, he allowed 27 hits and walked 13 while striking out 27.
Jimenez, an All-Star in 2010 when he no-hit the Braves in Atlanta on April 17 that season, was 56-45 in his Rockies career, the fifth highest win total in franchise history. He has the lowest Rockies career ERA (3.66) for a Rockies starting pitcher who worked at least 300 innings.
He was traded to the Cleveland Indians on July 31, 2011, in a deal that brought four players to the Rockies, including right-handed pitcher Alex White and left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Jimenez was upset about the way things happened, and expressed his displeasure the next spring.
He left the Indians as a free agent following the 2013 season, signing a four-year contract with the Orioles, who allowed him to become a free agent after a 2017 season in which he was 6-11 with a 6.81 ERA in 31 appearances, 25 of which were starts.
The invitees also include three players ranked by Baseball America among the Rockies top 10 prospects -- left-handed pitcher Ryan Rolison (No. 2), the Rockies first-round draft choice in 2018, third baseman Colten Welker (No. 5) and shortstop Ryan Vilade (No. 8). Rolison and Vilade are making their first appearances, along with right-handed pitchers Tommy Doyle and Alexander Guillen, and infielder Alan Trejo.
The Rockies first workout is next Wednesday with the exhibition season scheduled to begin on February 22.