Struggling Jimenez moving to Orioles bullpen

CHICAGO -- Ubaldo Jimenez hasn't been able to figure things out as a starter for the Baltimore Orioles, so now he'll continue the search for his best stuff as a reliever.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter made the switch public Tuesday, prior to a 5-1 win against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will take over Jimenez's starting spot for the time being and face the Chicago Cubs on Sunday in a series finale at Wrigley Field.

Gonzalez, 30, is currently in the minors after being optioned Aug. 9 to make room for Jimenez to return from the 15-day disabled list. He'll be recalled at some point this week.

Showalter informed Jimenez of the change Tuesday and said it was difficult.

"Sure it was, but 'you have your reasons, he said.' He doesn't have to agree with them, but he's been a great teammate, a great professional. He's got a good heart, and he wants to do well. It's not like he's pitched poorly all year."

Jimenez has pitched poorly of late. In two starts since coming off the disabled list, he's 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA. He has also allowed 11 hits, six walks and three home runs combined in 10 1/3 innings of those starts.

Through his 20 starts this season, Jimenez is 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA after signing a four-year, $50 million contract in February. Gonzalez, 30, is 6-6 with a 3.80 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) for the Orioles this season.

"It's just with what, 39 games left, let's see how Gonzo does," Showalter said. "We don't have any limitations now on anybody, so there'll be a need that Ubaldo can serve this team. It could be as a starter, and it could be as a reliever, but right now, for the next five games ... we know where we're going."

Jimenez, for now, is going to the bullpen. Only one of his 232 major league appearances was in relief and it was his debut performance with the Colorado Rockies in 2006 as a rookie.

"It will be (a learning process)," Showalter said. "Hopefully we can get him back a little bit to pitching like he has at times this year. It's going to be tough because you're not going to sit there and take a lot of work days. That's a very valuable job that he's going to have to do something every now and then."

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