In his first professional action of the 2011 season, Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon threw five innings for Double-A Bowie Thursday afternoon. He needed 81 pitches to get through the five, giving up six hits, four runs (only three earned), a hit batsman and two wild pitches. He didn't issue a walk while striking out five. Reportedly, his fastball sat in the low-to-mid-90s. (Orioles Insider )
Simon, 29, was the Baltimore closer for a good chunk of last season. He's been away from the club this year due to ongoing legal troubles stemming from an early January arrest. He is alleged to have shot and killed a man in the Domincan Republic and likely facing involuntary manslaughter charges. He's out on bail, but MLB has not allowed the Orioles to do anything with Simon aside from placing him on the restricted list -- meaning he won't be cleared to pitch in the majors until the legal issue has been somehow resolved.
In 2010, Simon had 17 saves in 21 chances with a 4.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. He had issues with walks and home runs, though the legal troubles make those pale in comparison at this point.
Simon read a prepared statement after the game to the media present. He read in spanish, but here is the english version, courtesy of Orioles Insider :
Today is the day that I'm addressing everyone in my personal and professional life.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
I want to take this opportunity to apologize to my sport, to the entire Baltimore Orioles organization, the owner, general manager, the front office, the coaches, my teammates, sponsors, and the fans, for the recent distraction that my personal circumstances have caused. In time I will address the issue publicly, but I cannot comment on the issue today. I ask for your patience, and understanding, and hope that you will grant me the privacy to deal with the matter appropriately.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to be here today and would like to thank everyone for their prayers, support and encouragement throughout this difficult process.
I have worked very hard to come back and be a part of this organization and intend to have a positive impact on everyone around me. I realize as an athlete, that it is not only playing the game of baseball that matters, but being a role model both on and off the field is a self-requirement.
Since my arrival back in the US on April 2nd of this year, I have worked hard on improving my game. I am taking this moment in my life to focus on my personal life and my career to prove my love and dedication to this sport.
I have overcome many obstacles in my life to get to where I am today. this difficult situation will only act to motivate me to be a better person, both individually, and as a professional.
There are limits to what I can comment on today. The incident has been a nightmare for me and my family. This process has been a tough learning experience for all involved, and I look forward to putting it behind me.
Again, I would like to apologize to my family and friends, my sport, to the entire Baltimore Orioles organization, the owner, general manager, the front office, the coaches, my teammates, sponsors, and the fans, for anything other than a positive direction that this incident may have caused. I would like to move forward this year and focus on my contribution as a pitcher to this team and our success. I'm ready to get back on the field and do what I love doing most.