SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Ubaldo Jimenez smiled when he was introduced to former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda after throwing three scoreless innings against Los Angeles on Monday.
``That's the guy who is going to take care of the Dodgers this year,' a Rockies official told Lasorda, who shook his head and remarked ``Yeah, he's lucky.'
Jimenez had reason to smile. He showed no ill effects from an infected thumb that pushed back his start a few days.
``I was happy to get back out there,' Jimenez said. ``I wasn't able to make my last start so I couldn't wait to get back out there. I felt like I was able to breathe and think about executing my pitches.'
The Dodgers beat the Rockies 7-1, but Jimenez gave up a hit and walked one in his first appearance since Feb. 26.
``Ubaldo was Ubaldo today,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ``He had three great innings of pitching and had a great sacrifice bunt and he was done for the day.'
Jimenez said he's getting ready to start letting go. He's slated to go four innings in his next start.
``I didn't even think about the finger,' said Jimenez, who tossed the Rockies' first no-hitter last year. ``I just tried to throw strikes. I threw a slider and a curve and they were sharp. I think I'm getting pretty close.'
Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly, who had his first start delayed because of the flu, was pleased with his 3 1-3 innings. He gave up one run and three hits, struck out two and walked none.
Tim Redding pitched three scoreless innings to get the win.
Lilly threw two innings in a 'B' game last Thursday before revving it up against the Rockies.
``At no point do you think this game is easy,' Lilly said. ``I'm aware I still have some work to do but I definitely feel like I'm going in the right direction. The priority is fastball command and then work off that.'
Jerry Sands' three-run shot off Greg Reynolds highlighted a four-run seventh for the Dodgers.
``He's legit,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``He's only going to keep getting better.'
Mattingly suggested Sands might be an early season call-up depending on the situation.
``He's a tough one,' Mattingly said. ``It's going to depend on what is going on. If there's a need, you might see him.'
NOTES: Dodgers INF James Loney returned to limited baseball-related activities after missing two days with a swollen left knee. ... LHP Jorge De La Rosa is scheduled to start for the Rockies at home Tuesday. RHP Felipe Paulino pitches the other split-squad game at the Chicago White Sox. ... Dodgers LHP Hong-Chin Kuo is likely to make his spring debut Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners. ... Dodgers INF Jamey Carroll was a late scratch from the traveling roster with a bruised finger on his right hand. ... Rockies RHP Aaron Cook had a long toss session for about 10 minutes and will throw again Tuesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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