Simon, Eveland struggle

The Orioles starting rotation picture got a little clearer following Wednesday’s 9-3 loss at the Blue Jays, with Dana Eveland and Alfredo Simon both struggling in their respective outings, furthering the idea that both pitchers are a long shot to be in the Opening Day rotation.

Simon — appearing his first game since exiting March 18’s start early with a left groin injury — was tagged with six earned runs on six hits and a walk over two innings and manager Buck Showalter admitted afterward that it would be “a push” for Simon to be ready physically to be in the rotation. Meanwhile, Eveland allowed three runs on six hits over four innings, marking the first time since March 16 that he has gone multiple-innings. Asked where he felt he fit in on the team, Eveland  –who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Dodgers – said he wasn’t sure if the rotation was a possibility.

“Honestly, I can’t see that I would be in the rotation because I haven’t been extended enough,” he said.  “It was my third start of spring but it was my first time really getting extended. I wouldn’t be ready to go seven innings next week, so I don’t know if that is a possibility.

If I could slide into the long relief job or the lefty guy in the pen, that would be great, but we have a lot of great competition in camp,” added Eveland, who has thrown 13 spring innings. “There are four left-handers who could possibly fill in that bullpen job. Who knows what’s going to happen. We’ll see.”

Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t so quick to dismiss Eveland from the starting competition, citing the team’s number of games left and ample opportunity to build up more innings.

“Everybody’s a candidate right now,” Showalter said. “We’ve got time for really two more starts if you look at the fifth starter, but if he sees it that way…I’m not sure. He had 60-some pitches today. If he was a little more efficient with his pitches, he could have pitched five innings today.”

Simon said after Wednesday’s outing that he felt physically OK, and he the right-hander purposely threw a lot of fastballs to make sure he could handle it.  Like Eveland, Simon is out of options –meaning he would have to clear waivers to be sent to the Minor Leagues – and his best shot at making the Opening Day roster seems to be in a long relief role.

Asked if he thought Simon –who has pitched just nine innings this spring — was rusty, Showalter was frank.

“I hope so,” he said.  “He pitched like a guy who had nine days off. He’ll be better next time out.”

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