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Jimenez tries to forget horrid first start against Braves

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Jimenez tries to forget horrid first start against Braves

SARASOTA, Fla. – Special attention has been paid to Ubaldo Jimenez in spring training in his time with the Orioles. He signed in the early days of camp in 2014, and after a rough first year, had a closely examined March in 2015.

Attention must be paid again.

Jimenez didn’t make it out of the first, retiring just one of the seven batters he faced. He allowed three hits and walked three, and all six scored in the Orioles’ 11-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves before 5,984 at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday.

The day began with the Orioles being introduced to their spring fans, and as South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim trotted out, manager Buck Showalter bowed to him. Kim laughed.

Kim was again hitless in six at-bats, and Showalter said he would play him again on Thursday in Port Charlotte against Tampa Bay.

Shortly after the bow, Jimenez bowed out quickly, throwing just 34 pitches.

“He got his pitches in, we were hoping for two he just happened to get his pitch count in in one inning. Actually, a third of an inning,” Showalter said.

Showalter doesn’t want to get concerned about spring. He’ll throw this one out.

“I might throw out the second one too, depending on the field and the conditions. I don't pay a lot of attention to it right now,” Showalter said.

“What I’m most interested in is his first start in Baltimore. Cuz that’s when it starts. I trust him. He’s been around. He’s pitched a lot of innings. He’s been a healthy horse for a long time and we expect him to be again, take the ball very fifth day. There’s something to be said about that. My most interest is when the bell rings.”

MORE ORIOLES: UBALDO CAN'T MAKE IT OUT OF FIRST

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez joked that he was taking “the baby Braves” to Sarasota.

Over the winter, Atlanta sent Shelby Miller to Arizona, and in return, the Braves received pitcher Aaron Blair, who started and shortstop Dansby Swanson. They also got outfielder Ender Inciarte.

Swanson, last year’s top pick in the draft and Ozzie Albies, a 19-year-old prospect from Curacao, both came along. They played the entire game and switched between short and second.

The Baby Braves scored seven runs in the first with young outfielder Mallex Smith tripling twice in the inning. He ended up with four hits, and was a single short of the cycle.

Smith homered off Brian Matusz and Albies hit one against Andy Oliver.

Atlanta had an 8-0 lead after 1 ½. Odrisamer Despaigne, who tried to bail Jimenez out in the first, allowed two runs and walked three. The Orioles walked 10 batters.

Jimenez, who had an equally forgettable first outing in the initial game of spring training a year ago, wants to forget about it.

“It doesn’t look pretty at all, but I think I feel good because my arm feels really good. I was able to work on the things I wanted to. Even before the game. I wanted to throw my changeup and my curve, and I started to throw my split and slider for today and that’s what I did,” Jimenez said.

On Mar. 3, 2015 in the Orioles’ 15-2 loss in Lakeland to the Detroit Tigers, Jimenez lasted 1 1/3 innings, and gave up six runs on just two hits.

“I even feel better than last year, the first one that I had last year. Mechanically I’m feeling good and I went to the mound and I wasn’t thinking about mechanics. I was thinking about throwing inside with the fastball and working on the curve and changeup that I didn’t use a lot last year,” Jimenez said.

The Orioles scored four runs against Blair in the second. Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run home run to left and Chris Davis smacked a long home run to center.

That ball didn’t stop rolling until it landed at second base of a practice field the Orioles use far beyond the stadium.
Blair was impressed.

“If I execute my pitch, that doesn’t happen,” Blair said. “To a guy with that kind of power, that ends up a long, long way away.”

NOTES: Zach Britton made his spring debut, pitching a scoreless fourth. … Efren Navarro, who refused an outright assignment to Norfolk, has signed a minor league contract with Seattle. … Miguel Gonzalez pitches for the Orioles on Thursday against Tampa Bay’s Erasmo Ramirez in Port Charlotte.

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.