Simon likely to pitch Thursday for Bowie; Millwood in Georgia waiting
Right-hander Alfredo Simon, who has been on Major League Baseball’s restricted list while he was a suspect in a fatal shooting in the Dominican Republic, is expected to pitch, and likely start, Thursday’s game for the Double-A Bowie Baysox against the Harrisburg Senators.
The Orioles are waiting on official approval from Major League Baseball before confirming the assignment.
Simon has been pitching in extended spring training, but will be making his first affiliated appearance since the January 1 shooting in the northeast coastal town of Luperon in which 25-year-old Michel Castillo Almonte was killed and Almonte’s 17-year-old half-brother was wounded.
Simon was held in a Dominican jail for roughly two months but was never charged with a crime. The case is still not resolved, but Simon was released from jail in March and was allowed to leave the Dominican and come to the United States to work.
The Orioles have not officially commented on Simon’s situation. One of Simon’s agents, Phil Isaac, also would not discuss the case. But Isaac said Simon has lost roughly 30 pounds, is throwing his fastball in the mid- to upper-90s and is looking forward to pitching against advanced competition.
“He is in excellent shape. His velocity and everything is certainly back,” Isaac said. “He has demonstrated that in the (extended spring) games he has pitched in so far. His control and mechanics are streamlined. All that is left is a buildup of endurance and some fine-tuning.”
Simon, who will be 30 on Sunday, saved 17 games for the Orioles last year. He tentatively will be used as a starter this season.
Typically, a player on the restricted list is not used in games in which there is an admission fee, but the Orioles, the commissioner’s office, the players’ union and Simon’s agents have worked out a deal in what is an unusual set of circumstances. It’s likely that at some point in the next few weeks, the Orioles will have to promote Simon to the major-league club or release him
If they reinstate Simon on the 40-man roster, but attempt to send him to the minors, he would first have to clear waivers. It’s possible he could return to the majors before he is fully cleared in the Dominican shooting.
Simon is not expected to make any statements until the Dominican case is resolved.
Meanwhile, Kevin Millwood who opted out of his minor-league contract with the New York Yankees on Sunday, cannot talk with other teams for 24 hours. The Orioles have mild interest in the veteran right-hander who was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts with the Orioles in 2010.
Millwood made three minor-league starts in the Yankees’ system in April, allowing one hit and no runs in seven innings at Double-A before having mixed results in two Triple-A starts. In his first, on April 23, he allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings against Syracuse. And then, on Thursday, he pitched just two innings, giving up six runs in seven hits to Charlotte. His ERA in the three contests was 4.50 and included two, seven-inning complete games.
Because he was not recalled by the Yankees on May 1, he chose to opt out of the contract and become a free agent. Millwood, 36, is at his home in Georgia, waiting for the next step, which he hopes is a call to the majors somewhere.
“I am waiting to see which teams have interest, if any. That’s pretty much it,” Millwood said. “I’m ready. I definitely still want to pitch.”