Simon gets call day earlier; Struggling Berken is optioned
With their bullpen taxed following another abbreviated outing by a starting pitcher, the Orioles have decided to activate right-hander Alfredo Simon from Major League Baseball’s restricted list a day earlier.
Simon, whose future with the club had been in doubt while he spent two months in a Dominican Republic prison as the chief suspect in a fatal New Year’s Day shooting in his native country, will be available in the Orioles’ bullpen for Saturday’s game against the Washington Nationals.
To make room for Simon on the 25-man roster, the Orioles have optioned struggling reliever Jason Berken to Triple-A Norfolk. Berken allowed six runs in one inning in the Orioles’ 17-5 loss to the Washington Nationals tonight, raising his ERA to 7.94.
“It’s all pitching-dictated,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “When a guy has an outing like [Brad Bergesen] had [Thursday] night and Jake [Arrieta] had tonight, it affects other people, too. You have to do things to keep yourself covered. We had hoped that we’d get deeper in the game and not have to use some of the people the length we had to use them tonight and put them in positions that they really shouldn’t be pitching in.”
The Orioles had to activate Simon, the 30-year-old right-hander who saved 17 games for them last season, from the restricted by Sunday or attempt to pass him through waivers. However, they decided to do it a day earlier to bolster their battered bullpen.
Simon went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts for Double-A Bowie. He allowed 14 hits and five walks, while striking out 17 in 16 innings.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Simon will have to stand trial, but a trial date has not been set yet, and the Dominican pitcher still hasn't been charged.
To get Simon off the restricted list, the Orioles will have to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. One of their options is just moving infielder Cesar Izturis (elbow surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.