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Ubaldo's April 1st Struggles: Elbow Related?

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After his opening day disaster, Ubaldo Jimenez was evaluated by team trainer Keith Dugger for what's being described as "vague elbow something". The Rockies are skipping his next start against the Pirates as a precaution. "I mean, really, it's the Pirates."

Prior to the 6th inning, Ubaldo topped out at roughly 96mph on a fastball that normally screams in at 100mph, especially on the first start of a fresh season.

Right after taking the mound for the 6th, the gas pedal was suddenly let off, and Ubaldo was hitting around 90-92 on average.

"It was strange...he normally is burning that fastball in the upper 90s through the 7th. He wasn't showing specific signs of struggling, but we could tell something was off. Although we had to use our own guns, as the stadium boards were kind of MIA."

Later, after the start, before preparing for his standard 6 mile run, Ubaldo came to Dugger saying that things with his elbow weren't feeling completely shipshape. Ubaldo was immediately started on a citrus regimen to combat scurvy. 

For his entire career, Ubaldo's been the picture of health. He has yet to take a trip to the disabled list. He has, however, visited many a hospital in all of his charity work as a clown for children. Children with diseases.

Other fireballers in the league seem to find themselves in injury trouble, such as former Brave/Astro/Met Billy Wagner, oft-injured Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya, and Phillies' veteran Jamie Moyer.

On the other hand, Ubaldo has never really been seen as someone with the mechanical problems that lead to injury, despite his wicked velocity and seeming slingshot motion. His actual work with a slingshot has been referred to as "Bart Simpson-Esque".

Look for the Rockies to take it easy on Ubaldo this week. With the extra day off because of Manager Jim Tracy's desire to keep the rotation in strict order, Ubaldo's next outing on the mound will be after Esmil Rogers' next start.

Something to think about: It's only the first start of the season, April 1, and there's a chance that this vague elbow complaint might just be a bit of internal frustration acting up. Ice yourself, Ubaldo, take your run, feel better. We'll get 'em next time.