With their bullpen taxed after another abbreviated outing by a starting pitcher, the Orioles have decided to activate right-hander Alfredo Simon from Major League Baseball's restricted list a day earlier.
Simon, whose future with the club had been in doubt while he spent two months in a Dominican Republic prison as the chief suspect in a fatal New Year's Day shooting in his native country, will be available in the Orioles' bullpen for today's game against the Washington Nationals.
To make room for Simon on the 25-man roster, the Orioles have optioned struggling reliever Jason Berken to Triple-A Norfolk. Berken allowed six runs in one inning in the Orioles' 17-5 loss to the Washington Nationals on Friday, raising his ERA to 7.94.
"It's all pitching-dictated," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "When a guy has an outing like [Brad Bergesen] had [Thursday] night and Jake [Arrieta] had tonight, it affects other people, too. You have to do things to keep yourself covered. We had hoped that we'd get deeper in the game and not have to use some of the people the length we had to use them tonight and put them in positions that they really shouldn't be pitching in."
The Orioles had to activate Simon, the 30-year-old right-hander who saved 17 games for them last season, from the restricted list by Sunday or attempt to pass him through waivers. However, they decided to do it a day earlier to bolster their battered bullpen.
Simon went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts for Double-A Bowie. He allowed 14 hits and five walks while striking out 17 in 16 innings.
The Associated Press reported last week that Simon will still stand trial, but no date has been set and the Dominican pitcher still hasn't been charged.
Adams 'taking it all in'
When the Orioles optioned Ryan Adams to Triple-A Norfolk late in spring training, Showalter encouraged the young infielder to go down to the minors and focus on defense.
Adams, 24, has always been productive offensively, and he proved that this spring by batting .526 (10-for-19) with two homers and eight RBIs in 17 games. But concerns about his defense had impeded his progress through the minor leagues.
Satisfied with his improvement and looking to add a spark to the struggling lineup, the Orioles called up Adams on Friday and also recalled Tides outfielder Nolan Reimold.
Adams made his big league debut Friday night in the Orioles' series opener against the Nationals, starting at second base with Brian Roberts on the seven-day disabled list. He singled in the fourth inning.
"I've been working my whole life for this and it's just a great opportunity," said Adams, the Orioles' second-round pick in 2006. "I've never been here before, so I'm just sort of taking it all in."
Adams, considered the Orioles' eighth-best prospect by Baseball America, was hitting .303 with two homers and eight RBIs in 38 games for Norfolk. He had made just four errors, a major improvement for a player who set the South Atlantic League record for errors by a second baseman in 2008, breaking the mark previously held by former Orioles manager and coach Juan Samuel.
Adams started working regularly with minor league infield coordinator Bobby Dickerson and coordinator of offensive fundamentals and former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick in spring training, and the work continued into the season.
"We worked hard every day in spring training and it carried over into the season and the results were there, too," Adams said. "I'm a lot more comfortable out there."
Reimold gets another chance
Reimold also said his promotion Friday was a little unexpected, as he was batting .237 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 39 games for the Tides. However, after what he has been through the past couple of seasons, Reimold is happy to have another opportunity.
"You can't take it for granted. You definitely learn that," he said. "I have to make the best of it when I'm here. I'm happy to be here and I want to stay here."
Reimold emerged as the Orioles' regular left fielder in 2009 and a legitimate American League Rookie of the Year candidate, hitting .279 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in 104 games before his season ended prematurely so he could have surgery on his left Achilles tendon.
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Last season was a nightmare as Reimold struggled with off-the-field issues and never produced on the field, hitting just .207 in 49 games and spending 31/2 months with Norfolk. He didn't make the Orioles' club out of spring training this year despite hitting .315 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 24 Grapefruit League games.
"That was kind of what I expected," Reimold said. "I went in there hoping for the best, hoping to make the team. It didn't work out so I went down to Norfolk. I'm here now though, so it doesn't matter. I feel good right now. The last week or so, I've been swinging a little bit better."
Reimold was added to the roster because the Orioles' regular left fielder, Luke Scott, will likely play a lot of first base in Derrek Lee's absence. However, Showalter stopped short of saying that Reimold will platoon in left with Felix Pie. He said Reimold, a right-handed batter, will start Saturday against Nationals left-hander John Lannan.
Around the horn
With Adams' addition, the Orioles 40-man roster is now full. Troy Patton and Chris Jakubauskas were demoted to make room for Adams and Reimold. Showalter met Friday with Robert Andino, who had started the past two games at second base, and assured him that he remains in the team's plans even with Adams' addition. Showalter said Andino will start Saturday's game at second base. The Orioles' top prospect, Manny Machado, who hasn't played since May5 because of a dislocated left kneecap, started baseball activities Friday at the team's minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla. Outfielder Kyle Hudson was transferred from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk, and infielder Buck Britton was transferred to Bowie from Single-A Frederick. Britton, the elder brother of Orioles pitcher Zach Britton, was hitting .341 for the Keys and leading the Carolina League with 30 RBIs. Catcher Craig Tatum (shoulder) was removed from the minor league disabled list.