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May 2, 2011

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.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 2:39 PM | | Comments (11)


Milwood is washed up. I would rather see Simon here.

Let's see, Guthrie, Britton and Arrieta are all virtual locks. Bergesen's sink is improving as his arm gets exercise (the ball sinks as the arm tires just like it did for Erickson). Tillman is improving as the weather warms up and has just enough wildness to be unpredictable to opponents and to mgmt. Matusz is progessing and when he's ready he'll step into the fourth spot in the rotation. Simon is throwing 95+ MPH. That's three guys competing for the last spot in the rotation and all have upside. What's Millwood got? Why would Millwood or the O's have any interest in each other.

My opinion: Simon: Not proven quility:Not aquitted either ... ummmm? I don't think I would want to go down that road. Baltimore should give Simon his release. Millwood: Hang it up: he should announce his retirement.

I'd take Millwood over any of the chumps in AAA.

But Millwood would probably rather retire than sign somewhere as AAA depth.

How old is he now? 38? That's not the time in your life when you want to collect a paycheck by riding around the country on a cheap bus and playing in garbage dump stadiums where most of the fans are more interested in the in-between-innings entertainment than the baseball.

Millwood earned almost $90MM over the past 15 years. He should be set for life. If he doesn't get a major league contract, I can't see why he wouldn't retire.

He had a good career. 159 wins, an ERA around 4.00, a handful of playoff starts. Too bad he never played in the World Series. He got close with Atlanta a couple of times, but it seems like he was either a little too late or left a little too early:

The 1995 Braves won the World Series. Millwood debuted with the Braves in 1997.

The Phillies played in the World Series in back to back years in '08 and '09. Millwood left Philly after the '04 season.

The Rangers traded Millwood to the O's just prior to their AL Championship season in 2010. Ouch.

There is more value and upside with a case of baseballs and a bag of practice bats than Kevin Millwood. He is a worthless bum who will not realize he is washed up and needs to be set out to pasture. Or taken to slaughter house cause he is done.

In our great country, you're innocent until proven guilty so if Simon is healthy and has the want to, then let him go to work.
As for Millwood, I'm w Johnny C, don't dial his number, unless the there is something we're not being told about Jake's hip.

Agree: mill wood was one of the most painful orioles to watch in my 57 years as a fan. Simon? He would be a distraction on the field and off. Let him get his legal troubles settled before adding him.

Going outside of the box for a minute, I'd like see us try MIllwood as relief pitcher. Many pitcher's careers have been given new life after making the transition to the bullpen. I don't see MIllwood as a closer, but on days when one of the starters doesn't have his best stuff, use him as a
2-3 inning reliever for the 4th,5th,6th inning situations....maybe. I'm sure he'd rather be a reliever in the ML than a starter in AAA.

Simon is already throwing in the mid-upper 90s? I want to see him compete for the closer role. Gregg scares the heck out of me. I don't see good things for the Os if he remains in the closer's role for an extended period of time. I want my closer to throw in the upper 90s. Bring the heat !! Groom him to take on that responsibility and use Gregg as a backup closer and set up man. Simon doesn't need to start games.

Why are we even talking about Millwood unless he can come out of the pen? Matusz, Ducscherer, and Simon are all on their way back. Let's worry about Millwood when the O's have a place for him.

Why Millwood?? Because he knows how to pitch...Tillman, Arietta, Bergenson, least three of them have great ability but they all still make really dumb mistakes....Millwood knows how to we supposedly have bought the bats and they should be able to keep his bacon out of the fire while the other aformentioned four get the experience he can provide. Sometimes you can't put a price on everything. Cashman signed him as insurance for Garcia and Colon...they have pitched with Tinkerbell on their shoulders, but I bet he wishes that date was June 1 instead of May 1 just in case the magic drains out of some shoulders.

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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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