The Rockies are about to get their ace back.
According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez threw a successful simulated game Wednesday at extended spring training and has been cleared to return to the Colorado rotation Monday against the Giants.
Jimenez threw 81 pitches in the simulated game, allowing seven hits and two earned runs over five innings while striking out three. The velocity on his fastball ranged from 94-97 MPH and he induced a total of nine groundball outs.
Jimenez has been out for the past week because of a cut on his right thumb cuticle. Now healthy, he will try to bounce back from a rough Opening Day start against the Diamondbacks that saw him surrender seven earned runs over six treacherous innings.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.