The team hopes Monday's hearing in the Jan. 1 shooting death of Simon's cousin will be the end of the case, but based on how things have progressed this year, the Orioles aren't sure what will happen.
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Oriole Park at Camden Yards, University of Maryland-Baltimore, 333 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201-2496, USA
The Orioles will put Simon, 30, on the restricted list Sunday when he heads to the Dominican, and the club hopes that by early next week — maybe as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday — he will have returned to the team. It's possible he won't miss a turn in the rotation if the Orioles continue to use him in that role after his scheduled start Saturday. But the club is taking nothing for granted.
"It is unique, but it is not something we can really influence," said Andy MacPhail, Orioles president of baseball operations. "We have to prepare our options for any scenario that may take place."
Simon, who has been in the Orioles' organization since Stockstill signed him as a free agent out of the Mexican League in 2008, has declined all comment about the incident after issuing a public apology in May to the club and its fans "for the recent distraction that my personal circumstances have caused."
His United States-based agent Phil Isaac has not returned calls since that time. Isaac, however, has maintained that Simon is innocent in the early New Year's Day shooting in the resort town of Luperon that killed Simon's cousin, Michel Esteban Castillo Almonte, and the wounding of Castillo Almonte's 17-year-old half-brother.
Simon acknowledges being at the celebration, in which guns were discharged in the air, and reportedly once called it an "accident" to authorities. Isaac, however, previously has said his client was "quite a distance" from where the incident occurred.
Within three days of the shooting, Simon surrendered his gun for ballistics tests and agreed to be questioned. Although no formal charges were filed, according to Simon's representatives, he was imprisoned for nearly two months while the case was investigated — which is permissible in the Dominican.
At the end of March, Simon was released from prison and allowed to secure a work visa and travel to the United States. Although it was reported in Dominican publications that he had agreed to a settlement with the victims' families, the government still had a calendar year to file criminal charges.
Since no charges were filed, Simon began the road back to the majors. He made his season debut May 24 with a scoreless inning against the Kansas City Royals and is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA in eight games, including one start.
Asked this week whether the team had any reservations about taking Simon off the restricted list and placing him on the active roster in May, MacPhail said: "No. He hadn't been charged with anything."
Stockstill traveled to the Dominican days after the incident to get a better idea of what had happened and what Simon was facing. The club did not get involved in the legal proceedings, preferring to allow Simon's agents and Dominican attorneys to handle it.
"We were hopeful it would work out," Stockstill said. "But with the fact-finding mission, it was not our job to assess judgment or anything in this matter. We handled it by collecting the information and letting the process move forward. And we hope this will be the final part of this process."
Said MacPhail: "It's one of those situations where nobody wins."
Not many examples
There are very few precedents from which the Orioles could draw from during this process. In October 2005, former major league reliever Ugueth Urbina allegedly attacked five workers on his farm in Venezuela, brandishing a machete and dousing them in gasoline.
Two weeks earlier, he had pitched his final big league game with the Philadelphia Phillies and was considered a free agent when he was charged with attempted murder that November.
He was sentenced to 14 years and seven months in prison in 2009.