Miguel Tejada is footing the legal bill for Alfredo Simon
Orioles right-handed reliever Alfredo Simon, a suspect in a death investigation in the Dominican Republic, is getting support from some former teammates, including one of the biggest names in his home country.
Simon, who was questioned by police today in the New Year’s Eve shooting death of a 25-year-old man in the coastal town of Luperon, is being represented by high-powered Dominican Republic attorneys who are being bankrolled by former Orioles star Miguel Tejada.
Tejada, who befriended Simon this season before he was traded to the San Diego Padres in July, said by phone this morning that he networked with friends in the Dominican to choose a firm that can best help Simon.
Tejada said he expects to pick up the bill, though he said former Orioles infielder Julio Lugo also has taken an active role and may help with the costs as well.
“Alfredo is a kid I really love a lot, he is in trouble right now, and that’s what we do, we stick together,” Tejada said. “We wanted some big company attorneys, there are some good ones here in the Dominican and this is a special case.”
Tejada said he does not know the attorneys personally but took the recommendation of friends. He said he spoke to Simon on Sunday and said the pitcher is doing well, given the circumstances.
“He is fine. He told me he doesn’t have anything to do with it, he is not the one to do it, and I believe him,” Tejada said. “I tell him I am with him and if there’s anything he needs, I am here.”
Simon, in his first full season with the Orioles, made the league minimum $400,000 in 2010. Tejada, who signed a one-year, $6.5 million free-agent contract with the San Francisco Giants this winter, has made nearly $100 million in salary in his big league career.
Throughout his 12 big league seasons, Tejada has been considered one of the more charitable players in baseball. Last winter, he delivered supplies to victims of the earthquake in Haiti days after the natural disaster.
Tejada said he was devastated when he first heard the reports about Simon and his alleged involvement in the New Year’s Eve shooting that left one man dead and another wounded. Dominican police reports suggest that Simon fired a gun into the air twice during a dispute and that the victims may have been struck accidentally. Simon’s representatives are adamant that he had no involvement in the shooting. No matter the circumstances, it’s a tragedy, Tejada said.
“If something happened and somebody did not do the right thing, I am not happy with that. But right now, a friend of mine is in trouble and he came to me,” Tejada said. “I don’t know how it happened, but I am trying to help a friend. I know it is hard for the family of the guy that died, so I just feel sorry for what happened on both sides.”
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