SURPRISE, Ariz.: Ubaldo Jimenez completed his spring training assignments by giving up three runs and three hits in 4⅔ innings, as the Kansas City Royals beat the Indians 5-1 at Surprise Stadium.
He kept runners off the bases for the most part, but he needed 85 pitches to retire 14 batters. He also gave up solo homers to Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur and Elliot Johnson.
“One was on a hanging curve and the others were fastballs,” manager Terry Francona said. “I didn’t him want him to have to exert himself.”
That is, Francona didn’t want to see Jimenez throw another 15-20 pitches, especially if he were to get into trouble.
“I feel good about Ubaldo, and he should feel good about himself,” Francona said.
In seven exhibition outings, Jimenez compiled a 4.80 ERA in 30 innings, walking seven and striking out 22.
Francona believes that Jimenez did a lot this spring to change bad habits and retrain his arm to accommodate altered mechanics, with the help of pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
“I think he’s become very trusting of Mickey,” Francona said. “And I think Ubaldo set himself up to have a good year.”
One concern is that Jimenez will try to make up for his horrid season of 2012, but Francona said that’s a waste of time because Jimenez can’t change what happened.
“Ubaldo does not have to pitch for last year,” Francona said.
The Tribe offense never was able to sustain any rallies. Michael Brantley singled twice, and Jason Kipnis, Drew Stubbs and Lou Marson doubled, with Marson driving in the run.
Lonnie Chisenhall went 1-for-2, setting himself up to finish spring training with a .400-plus batting average. Going into today’s spring finale, he is batting .407.
For each starting pitcher to have four days of rest before their initial outings of the season, Zach McAllister will stay behind in Goodyear, Ariz., and throw in a minor-league game on Sunday.
Scott Kazmir will throw in the minor-league complex today.
Francona isn’t planning on using a platoon at any position, and he probably won’t have to, with three switch hitters in the lineup.
“I’m not planning on it, especially early,” he said. “I want to let these guys [regulars] play. Like Lonnie Chisenhall. I don’t want him looking over his shoulder.
“But that’s what you fight as a manager. All of a sudden the games count. But I don’t want to turn into Casey Stengel.”
On his way
Asdrubal Cabrera (sore back) was scheduled to get four or five at-bats in a minor-league game on Friday, then play shortstop in today’s exhibition game.
The Indians traded minor-league catcher Brian Jeroloman to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.
The Indians return to Goodyear this afternoon to play the Cincinnati Reds in their final exhibition game of spring training. Brett Myers will start for the Indians against a pitcher to be determined.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.