Nursing groin pain, Simon eyes O's rotation
Veteran righty relishes opportunity to pitch deep into games
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The second Grapefruit League start -- third outing -- for Alfredo Simon was supposed to turn into a solid opportunity for the right-hander to make a claim for a spot on the Orioles' pitching staff.
Instead, it developed into a situation of confusion and trust for manager Buck Showalter.
Simon surrendered one run on two hits over two innings in the Orioles' 6-3 win over the Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday night, and he has allowed just one run and seven hits in seven innings this spring.
But the 30-year-old righty informed Showalter that his groin felt "a little tight," forcing the O's skipper to take him out of the game.
"He said he didn't feel comfortable about pushing off," Showalter said. "He said he was fine to pitch, and I really didn't like that scenario."
Showalter was more upset about the fact Simon had known about the problem earlier in the week and kept it to himself.
"He may have continued [like that] during the season."
Simon, who began his career as a reliever, is competing for a spot in the O's rotation. After going 3-8 with a 4.96 ERA across 16 starts last season, Simon -- who was 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA in 21 1/3 innings of relief -- is out of Minor League options, so the team must determine if he fits into its plans before camp ends.
"I don't really think about that," Simon said. "When I go out there, I'm going to do the best that I can. I don't put a lot of pressure in my mind. I know I'm ready to go. I'll do the best I can to make the team."
On Sunday night, Simon looked sharp. After allowing an infield single to Eduardo Nunez in a scoreless first inning, he gave up a leadoff double to Mark Teixeira in the second. After Teixeira advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to center by Raul Ibanez, Simon surrendered a run on a groundout to first by Justin Maxwell.
The plan had called for Simon to toss between 60 and 70 pitches, and he anticipated making another strong case for himself on Sunday before the injury stalled those intentions.
While Simon has stated he doesn't mind whether he is a starter or a reliever, he thinks "it works better for me to be a starter, because I think I can go deep into a game."
Simon has never thrown a complete game in 19 career starts, but he lasted eight innings in two games last season and made four starts in which he went seven.
"All my career, I was a starter; I was never a reliever before," Simon said. "So I think it's better for me to be a starter. I'm more comfortable there."
Simon now must rest "at least a few days" before he makes his next appearance.
"I feel I could be ready in a couple days, maybe three."
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.