SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Ubaldo Jimenez is still waiting to hear if he'll get the start for the Colorado Rockies on opening day - even after pitching four perfect innings Saturday.
``Hopefully they will let me know so I can get really excited about it and call my mom,' said a smiling Jimenez after a Rockies split-squad beat the San Diego Padres 4-3.
Even Rockies' manager Jim Tracy has poked a little fun at himself for not quite being ready to make the official announcement.
``That's going to be quite a surprise,' he said earlier in the spring. ``That's going to be some announcement.'
There's not much else for Jimenez to show the team. He needed an economical 46 pitches (31 for strikes) to get through his best outing yet. He struck out four.
He still hasn't allowed a run in nine innings over three starts.
``When I get to the mound I'm thinking about pounding the strike zone,' Jimenez said. ``When I got to two strikes, I thought why not go for it. Hopefully I can get my pitch count up next time.'
Jimenez did break one of Tracy's baserunning codes in the game. He was thrown out at the plate after slowing down rounding third base.
``We want the message out there,' Tracy said. ``We want the pitchers to be athletes. Usually when a pitcher gets on, the game moves 90 feet at a time. Nope. Not here. We've stressed that from day one of the Cactus League and, hopefully, into late October.'
Jimenez acknowledged his error.
``I was almost going to stop at third and then I saw the coach waving and thought 'opps,'' he said.
Jason Giambi hit a two-run home run and Willy Taveras drove in two runs for the Rockies, who have won five straight. Carlos Gonzalez added a pair of hits for Colorado.
Clayton Richard made his first start of the spring for the Padres, pitching into the third inning. He gave up two runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout. Jesus Guzman hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth.
``It was kind of a typical first outing,' Richard said. ``Physically I felt great and was trying to find my rhythm. It would have been nice to get three innings but at least I got to go out there three times and get my arm ready for each inning.'
Richard was shut down for three days before his first scheduled start because of some soreness in his left shoulder.
``It turned out to be longer,' he said. ``We took advantage of the extra time.'
NOTES: Padres RHP Dustin Moseley gave up his first earned runs in eight innings when Giambi hit his home run in the sixth. ... Rockies INF Eric Young, Jr. made his spring debut, striking out in the eighth. ... Padres 1B Brad Hawpe, a former Rockie, had one of four hits on the day and is hitting .500 this spring. ... Rockies' RHP Clayton Mortensen, a possible fifth starter, went two scoreless innings.
The Associated Press News Service
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