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May 21, 2011

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.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 12:16 AM | | Comments (6)


I don't care what Berken says, something isn't right with him. I hope he either reveals that he's still hurting from his injury or he find his groove in AAA.

After watching this game, I can guarantee that we are going to see a ton of players going back and forth from the minors to the majors until the O's find the right combo. The BP has been an embarrassment this season. I know Jake had a bad gam, as this was just his second bad game this season, but the BP just keeps getting worse and worse. There must be someone to replace Gonzo? Gregg is stuck here because of that dumb contract, but I will be pissed if he still is the closer. He hasn't done anything to warrant that role.

The lowest of the low....Nats get almost no hit by a Met nobody pitcher, and just like the Yankees they come and feast on the way, Mets also beat the Yanks 2-1 tonight.....and the Mets are winning with a roster seriously depleted by injury.....what does that say about the O's??? How bad can this team get....thats rhetorical....I need to see some management reaction here because the players are just collecting checks....Buck needs to turn over some buffet tables or fire, no spark, NO PRIDE????

Jeff if i remember correctly bucks biggest problem was to change the mind set of a team that had a losing mentality. Well to be perfectly honest i haven't seen any change. The last 5 games surely have indicated to me that buck is actually losing this team to some degree. There are 12 teams with payrolls that are less then the orioles and only one of them has a worse record and that is houston.

When sam p was the manager you saw all kinds of base running problems, fans said i thought sam was great with fundamentals and expected more. When dave t was the manger you saw more of the same and everybody said that dave t after spending 20 plus years in the minors was a great fundamental coach , now Buck S is the manger who has been credited with turning around 3 franchise's and is know as a great disicipliarian has more problems with base running then the previous two. Jeff this team is a complete mess right now and i truly don't see any fire at all.

This team is on the verge of complete turmoil with no obvious solutions to the problem.

Please explain why they keep Gonzo isnt Patton a better option. If they cut him wont someone pick him up to take and pay a part of his contact. Also please tell me about Worrel in Norfolk seems to be closing alright. Is he major league material.

Jeff z's reply: Nobody is going to pick up Gonzalez and that contract with how he's pitching right now. Worrell is a journeyman type. He'll probably get a shot at some point because the O's are trying everybody, but if they thought he'd make a huge difference, he's be up here by now.


If Gregg is the closer, Johnson the setup guy, Accardo a middle reliever and Gonzalez the late inning matchup specilist, then perhaps the team may be better off with Koji as long or middle reliever. Koji has excellent control and can hlep keep them in games when the starters fail. He may better in that role than Simon or anyone else they have tried thus far.

Jeff Z's reply: Koji is not equipped at this stage of his career - with his elbow and all - to be a long guy. Two innings is a stretch for him at times.

Berken demoted --- a good start!


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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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