Jimenez helps Orioles beat Twins' split squad 3-2

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) Ubaldo Jimenez has his best outing of spring training, allowing two runs and five hits over four innings Wednesday as the Baltimore Orioles beat a Minnesota Twins' split squad 3-2.

Jimenez, 57-56 since going 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA for Colorado in 2009, struck out four, walked one and lowered his ERA from 11.05 to 8.74.

''Ubaldo pitched very well,'' said Twins bench coach Joe Vavra, Minnesota's acting manager while Paul Molitor handled the game against Boston. ''That's as good as I've seen him. We've faced him how many times now. His fastball just had a lot of life to it.''

Jimenez is among six candidates for five rotation spots along with Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman .

''I never put that in my mind,'' Jimenez said. ''I'm doing the same thing that I've been doing the last 13 spring trainings, counting the minor leagues, and that's getting myself ready for the season.''

Orioles manager Buck Showalter declined to discuss whether Jimenez has shown enough to make the rotation.

''Half the games of spring training are left to play,'' Showalter said. ''We don't have to get ahead of ourselves. I just hope everybody stays healthy and continues to pitch like they are, for the most part, so that we have those tough decisions.''

Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run home run off Minnesota starter Ervin Santana.

Former Twin Delmon Young had two hits for the Orioles in a game that took just 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Eduardo Nunez, trying to win a bench spot with the Twins, drove in a run along with Eddie Rosario, who hopes to become Minnesota's starting center fielder.

''Rosario looked good,'' Vavra said. ''You can look at the defensive plays that he made.''

STARTING TIME

Santana gave up three runs and four hits in four innings, striking out three. ''I throw everything,'' Santana said. ''I don't care. Whatever they want me to throw, I just throw it. If you want me to throw a knuckleball, I'll throw a knuckleball.''

TRAINER'S ROOM: Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters has elbow tendinitis following his return from Tommy John surgery and won't play until at least Sunday. The three-time All-Star caught six innings Tuesday against Minnesota in his first game behind the plate since elbow surgery June 17. He is 0 for 23 at the plate in spring training. ... A day after being hit in the helmet by Twins RHP Brian Duensing, INF Ryan Flaherty was cleared to play Thursday. Flaherty was given tests for concussion symptoms on Wednesday and showed no ill effects.

UP NEXT

RHP Ricky Nolasco is to start for Minnesota on Thursday against Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte, and RHP Nathan Karns is to pitch for the Rays. ... Baltimore plans to start RHP Chris Tillman in Sarasota; Pittsburgh goes with RHP Radhames Liz.

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