Alfredo Simon only made it into the second inning on Tuesday before an undisclosed injury knocked him out of the game. Simon gave up three home runs in his brief outing — one each to Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis — before summoning the trainer to the mound. Dennis Sarfate replaced Simon, putting the Orioles in a vulnerable position.
Simon was later diagnosed with discomfort in his right elbow, and he’ll head back to Baltimore to be examined by team physicians on Wednesday. There’s no word yet on whether he’ll miss a rotation turn or be forced onto the disabled list for the foreseeable future.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said Tuesday that Hayden Penn has been ruled out of consideration for the starting rotation, and he also said that the Orioles are now considering Brian Bass more as a reliever. So if you’re scoring at home, that leaves Alfredo Simon, Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson to likely flesh out the last three spots.
Trembley admitted that Simon is in, but he waffled a bit on Hendrickson Tuesday. He also said that barring an injury, Brad Bergesen is set to start the year at Triple-A Norfolk. Of course, the staff may change during the season, but for now, it appears to be set.
The Orioles may still be keeping the back-end of their rotation secret, but they disclosed the front part on Tuesday. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said that Koji Uehara would start the second game of the season, slotting right in behind staff ace Jeremy Guthrie.
“He’s the best available guy we have,” said Trembley. “He’s a guy with experience, proven success and that’s why we signed him — to put him at the top of the rotation with Guthrie.”
Baltimore is still sorting between back-end options, but Alfredo Simon is believed to have separated himself from the pack. Mark Hendrickson is also expected to fill a starting slot, leaving Brian Bass and Hayden Penn to compete for one spot.
Dave Trembley didn’t even need much of a question to speak at length about his starting rotation on Thursday. Baltimore’s manager felt the need to clarify some of the comments he made Wednesday in an attempt to head future questions off at the pass.
“I’m not in a position to name who the five starters are and I won’t be in a position to name who the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 are until later in camp,” he said. “I won’t be in a position until later in camp — right down to the end — to name if I’m going with 12 or 13 pitchers. I just want to say that with all due respect to everyone because I don’t have answers right now. …We’re still in the phase of giving guys opportunities to pitch.”
Trembley wanted to see Alfredo Simon and Hayden Penn on Thursday, and he got positive signs from at least one of them. Simon threw four scoreless innings against Washington, and Penn was scheduled to throw one inning in relief later in the day. Penn will take the ball again as a starter later in the week, giving the Orioles more chance to evaluate him.
Rain scuttled one game of Baltimore’s split-squad on Wednesday, setting up a dilemma for how the Orioles will set up their pitching staff. Baltimore elected to switch Adam Eaton to the other game and push back Hayden Penn and Alfredo Simon to Thursday.
Danys Baez, Thursday’s scheduled starter, was pushed back to Friday. And Brad Bergesen and Brian Bass will now pitch instead in a Minor League game on Friday.
When asked how he would react if the Jupiter game was also rained out, pitching coach Rick Kranitz provided a memorable quip. “You’ll see a grown man cry,” he said.
Manager Dave Trembley had hoped to have some clarification on his rotation by now, but he said Wednesday that his deliberations will go far into the spring. After all, after Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara, the rotation appears to be completely barren.
“At first blush, that’s how it would appear — that there are still no clear frontrunners for anything past Uehara,” said Trembley. “Maybe today Eaton will step up and show that, but I haven’t seen guys step up and say I’m the third, fourth or fifth starter. …We felt like [Rich] Hill was going to get an opportunity, but its March 18 and he hasn’t pitched yet. You’ve got to have other plans. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing with some of these other guys.”
Alfredo Simon met the media Wednesday, one day after reporting to the Spring Training complex. Simon reported to Fort Lauderdale Stadium nearly three weeks after Baltimore’s pitchers and catchers but said that he’s glad to have his visa problems behind him.
” I just got here a little late, but I’m ready to throw,” he said. “I’ve been practicing over there. I think I’m going to throw a bullpen today and be ready as quick as I can.”
Simon, a native of the Dominican Republic, said that he has visa problems virtually every year. The right-hander spent much of last season in the Mexican League before being signed by Baltimore, and he later made his big-league debut and the first start of his career.
Now, despite his late arrival, he has a shot at snagging one of three vacant rotation slots.
“I’m late,” he said. “But they’re going to see me when I throw. I’m ready to go.”
The Orioles will receive two final additions to their pitching staff late Tuesday afternoon, accepting Adam Eaton and Alfredo Simon into the fold. Simon had problems with his visa, while Eaton was recently signed to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training.
“Simon should be able to get his physical tomorrow,” said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley of the Dominican Republic native. “I dont know if all his physical, bloodwork and all that will be done in time for him to get out on the field, but he’s arriving today at 5:30.”
Eaton, meanwhile, is due for his close-up on Wednesday. Trembley said that he and pitching coach Rick Kranitz would research when the right-hander last pitched before making a definite plan, but he also said he wants to see the veteran on the mound as soon as possible.
“We want to get him to throw on the side and we want to get him in a game as soon as we can,” he said. “Depending on when was the last time he threw and how much he threw.”