GOODYEAR, Ariz.: Major League Baseball is forcing Ubaldo Jimenez to answer for his malfeasance.
The Indians’ No. 2 starter was hit with a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine Monday afternoon for striking Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the elbow with a pitch on Sunday.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised,” Indians manager Manny Acta said.
On Sunday, Acta said he didn’t think the incident merited a suspension, inasmuch as Jimenez denied he hit Tulowitzki intentionally.
“I still don’t think so,” Acta said. “I’m very disappointed with the inconsistency that these decisions are made. We had a game in New York last year that I thought was worse, and that guy got fined $750.”
Acta probably was talking about Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) hitting Mark Teixeira.
“I just think that everybody is relying too much on comments in the newspaper,” Acta said. “This guy walked five batters, so where do you draw the line? I think they let themselves be swayed by you guys.”
Commissioner Bud Selig happened to be a spectator at Sunday’s game in Scottsdale, Ariz., but Acta didn’t think that made a difference.
“Who cares?” Acta said. “Whether he was there or not, everybody gets the same [television] feeds and TV reports.”
Acta said that Jimenez would appeal, which means he will make his first start of the season Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. If the appeal fails, Jimenez will have to miss one start.
The negative reaction to the pitch was widespread and obviously included the Rockies.
“It’s the most gutless act I’ve seen in 35 years of professional baseball,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Denver reporters after Sunday’s game. “I’ve lost all respect for him. He should be suspended.”
Jimenez didn’t think an apology was necessary.
“No, he was calling me a [expletive],” Jimenez said Monday. “I already said I didn’t mean to hit him. This is not the first time somebody got hit. It’s part of the game.”
There is evidence that Jimenez intended to hit Tulowitzki (he was not hurt) with the first-inning fastball.
Ill feelings had been brewing for awhile, starting when Jimenez admitted to complaining to Rockies management last year about not receiving the same kind of multiyear deals as Carlos Gonzalez and Tulowitzki.
Jimenez did not make his feelings public until a little more than two weeks ago, after which Tulowitzki fired back in the media, setting up Sunday’s showdown.
Tracy’s words didn’t induce an emotional response from Jimenez.
“I can’t control what people say,” he said. “Whatever they think, I will leave it at that.”
On the mound, Jimenez did not have a successful spring, giving up 19 earned runs and 15 walks in 23 innings.
“I’m glad spring training is over,” he said. “The season is where everything counts. Yesterday was a bad game, but I got my work in.”
On Sunday, Jimenez gave up six runs and five walks in 4· innings, a measure of his command problems throughout exhibition season.
“Probably good command of my fastball,” Jimenez said of his biggest failing. “But that is something that happens to power pitchers, who take a little longer.”
Added Acta, “He’s had issues not pitching ahead. I’m not going to be talking about mechanics every five days. He has an unorthodox delivery. He’s either going to throw strikes or he’s not.”
Asdrubal Cabrera excused himself from an interview Monday, saying that he had to take his physical.
Players are given physicals when they report to camp and when they sign new contracts, which Cabrera reportedly is about to do.
When a reporter congratulated him, he said thank you.
The new deal allegedly is worth $16.5 million for two years and will keep the shortstop with the Indians through 2014.
Josh Tomlin did his job, but the Tribe lost 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds in the last game of the spring in Arizona.
“It was a great job by Tomlin,” Acta said. “He threw all his pitches and was able to do it his particular way. It was gratifying to see.”
Tomlin gave up one run, three hits and two walks in five innings, throwing 63 pitches. For the spring, he posted a 6.18 ERA in 27‚ innings.
Chris Perez, Tony Sipp, Dan Wheeler and Jairo Asencio each pitched an inning. Wheeler gave up a run, but it was unearned.
Ryan Spilborghs and Fred Lewis, among the masses of outfielders who competed for the starting left field job, are headed in different directions. Spilborghs will report to Triple-A Columbus; Lewis was released.
The Tribe finished spring training with home attendance of 74,836, an average of 4,677. That ranks second among the four seasons in which the team has been headquartered in Goodyear.
The Indians travel to Zebulon, N.C., to play their Class A Carolina League affiliate in the final exhibition game of the spring today. Derek Lowe will face Scott Barnes.
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.