CLEVELAND -- Ubaldo Jimenez will serve his time, but the pitcher's upcoming suspension will not affect the Indians' starting rotation.
Following Cleveland's 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays in 12 innings on Saturday, Jimenez said he will drop his appeal of a five-game suspension recently handed down by Major League Baseball. Jimenez was also hit with a undisclosed fine for hitting Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki last Sunday in a Spring Training game.
"We just want to get it over with," said Jimenez, who turned in seven innings against Toronto in Saturday's defeat. "I just want to be able to focus on getting ready for my next game. We just wanted to get it out of the way so we don't have to think about it anymore."
The Indians have a scheduled off-day on Thursday, so the ballclub will not need to promote a pitcher from the Minor Leagues to fill in for Jimenez while he is serving his suspension. Right-hander Derek Lowe, who is slated to pitch on Sunday, can return on regular rest for Friday's road game against the Royals.
Jimenez can then come back from his suspension for a start against Kansas City next Saturday. The right-hander will have missed five of the Indians' games, but can return on six days' rest, rather than forcing the team to call up an extra starter.
Prior to Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, Indians manager Manny Acta said it helped that the team could "take advantage of the day off coming up."
"That way," Acta added, "we'll just push him up a day and he won't have to miss time."
Against Toronto, Jimenez turned in an impressive season debut, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the Tribe. Overall, the right-hander was charged with two runs allowed on one hit, finishing with three strikeouts and three walks in a 95-pitch effort.
It was a drastic improvement over the starter's unfortunate finish to the preseason.
In the first inning of his final Cactus League outing, Jimenez threw a pitch far inside to Tulowitzki, who was struck on the left elbow. The shortstop began yelling at Jimenez, who threw down his glove and charged off the mound toward home plate. The benches emptied, though order was quickly restored and no players were injured or ejected.
The altercation came after a series of Spring Training articles that included critical comments from Jimenez about the Rockies organization, and choice words from Tulowitzki and some other of the pitcher's former teammates. Colorado dealt Jimenez to Cleveland in a five-player swap at the July 31 Trade Deadline last year.
It was an ugly incident within a forgettable final spring start for Jimenez, who gave up six runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings against Colorado. Overall, Jimenez went 1-4 with a 7.43 ERA in his Cactus League appearances, but Acta said there were signs of progress that do not show up in the box score.
"I was encouraged over the last three outings that he had over there," Acta said. "He threw the ball with more velocity and he pitched better. He's just going to have to be more aggressive early in the count and attack the strike zone."