Results tagged ‘ Alfredo Simon ’

Simon released on bail

LAKELAND, Fla. — Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon was officially released on bail Friday by an appeals court in the Dominican Republic.

The judge in the Puerto Plata Province ruled Thursday that Simon could be let go as soon as he made bail, a sum that was approximately $50,000.

Simon had been in custody since early January as the primary suspect in the New Year’s Eve shooting death of Michel Esteban Castillo Almonte. He was denied bail twice before, but he received good news last week when Almonte’s family dropped a civil lawsuit against him.

The 29-year-old Simon is still facing an involuntary homicide charge,  Simon’s lawyer, Carlos Olivares told CNN, but he is free to travel to the United States. It’s unknown what the next step will be for Simon, who is currently on the Orioles restricted list. 

The pitcher spent Friday afternoon at his home in the Dominican Republic, where he was reunited with his family. 

A few other notes (updated)

*Derrek Lee will take batting practice for the first time this spring either Friday or Saturday. Manager Buck Showalter said Lee will be held out of Sunday’s intrasquad game and the first few Grapefruit League contests as well.

“I’m just going to trust him right now,” Showalter said of Lee. “I trust him period but with something like this, no reason to get ahead of ourselves. I know exactly what, not to an at-bat, but a pretty good idea of what he’s going to need. He knows it better than I do. He may think he needs four weeks of at-bats, and there’s always ways to get at-bats.”

*A judge will decide today regarding whether Alfredo Simon will stay in jail or be freed on bail. Even if he is released, Simon still needs to obtain his Visa and it could be a case where he’s not allowed to leave the country yet. Stay tuned for any news on that.

*The Orioles split squad game on Sunday is going to be played at the main Ed Smith Stadium field. Manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday morning that that’s the plan for now.

*Also Zach Britton and Rick VandenHurk will both get starts this spring. Britton and VandenHurk will each piggyback off the initial run-through of the Grapefruit League schedule, which I blogged yesterday. That schedule will flip so that they start a game in the second run-through.  VandenHurk will follow Jeremy Guthrie on Tuesday while Britton will follow Justin Duchscherer on Wednesday.

*There was some confusion regarding what I wrote Monday about where Vladimir Guerrero and Nick Markakis took batting practice. That bp session took place on the practice fields at Ed Smith Stadium complex, not on the main field, which is still being worked on by a construction crew. I got a few questions about that and wanted to clarify in case it wasn’t clear in my story.  

*If you missed it, I had a nice long sit-down with new third baseman Mark Reynolds, who is looking forward to playing healthy and having a fresh start in Baltimore. The full story is up here.

Early ballistics encouraging for Simon

While Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon remains in police
custody in Santiago, Dominican Republic, his lawyer said Tuesday that a
preliminary forensics report on the weapon in question absolves his client from
the New Year’s Eve killing in Luperon.

“The ballistics tests have been favorable,” lawyer
Carlos Olivares told CNN in a telephone interview. “We are waiting for the
formal report.”

Oliveras has appealed Monday’s decision to hold the 29-year-old Simon for a
year, telling the news service that “we know that [Simon] had nothing to
do with this victim”.  Police
involved in investigations have expressed skepticism over the initial ballistics
report and said that these cases usually take six months to fully look into.

Simon’s cousin, Michael Esteban Castillo Almonte, was killed in the
shooting, and Simon -who turned in his gun on Monday  – told police he had been firing celebratory
shots into the air and that Almonte’s death and the wounding of his 17-year-old
sibling were accidents. Oliveras has maintained that his client is innocent
since Simon fired the gun into the air and the victim was struck in the chest.

Oliveras said Simon fired the gun into the air and then left the park where
the killing occurred oblivious to what had happened.

“He understood that nothing had happened at the moment. And 45 minutes
later, when he was eating at some restaurant or discotheque, somebody tells
him, ‘Hey, you’re the one who killed so-and-so,'” Olivares said, according
to accounts by the Dominican media.

“The fact is that in this incident, many people fired guns, but the
only person who’s been summoned for this is my client.”

The wounded victim, Starlin Castillo Hernandez told the Dominican daily El
Nacional on Tuesday that it was indeed Simon who fired the fatal shot and the
one that struck his right arm.

“If it’s like he says, that he was firing into the air, then we must
all have been sleeping,” Hernandez, said with obvious sarcasm, according
to the newspaper.

The ballistics report could be made official in the next day or two, and
although it’s been estimated that the prosecution will take several months to prepare
its case against the athlete, Puerto Plata Province Assistant District Attorney
Juan Carlos Hernandez told CNN they hope to move things along “as soon as
possible”

“The Forensics Institute in Santo Domingo will collect and review
ballistics evidence,” Hernandez said.

“We will return to the crime scene to gather more evidence.”

The Orioles have not commented publicly on the matter, but director of
player development John Stockstill flew to the Dominican Republic on Monday with
the intent of meeting with Simon, sorting through the facts and determining the
proper course of action.

A native of Santiago, Simon was a key part of the O’s bullpen last season in
the wake of injuries to Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson. Simon’s
contract was purchased less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery,
and he compiled 17 saves in 2010. He went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA and was projected
to compete for one of the final spots in the club’s bullpen this year.

*** For more background on the story, here’s the version I wrote this morning.

The lastest on Simon

Check back for the latest updates, but as of Tuesday morning, here’s the latest on Alfredo Simon…

Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon, the primary suspect in a fatal New Year’s Eve shooting in the Dominican Republic, submitted himself to police for questioning on Monday morning and said the incident had been an accident.

“In truth that young man was my friend, like a brother,” Simon said told reporters of the victim, Michael Esteban Castillo, who was shot and killed in the northeast coastal town of Luperon.

“It wasn’t a thing like we began arguing and I started shooting. It was some accident; it happened by accident,” Simon said, speaking at the police station where he turned himself in. “That’s why I came here — to open my soul.”

In the meantime Simon is being held in Santiago where, according to multiple reports, he is awaiting the result of ballistics tests that are expected to determine if the fatal bullet came from his gun.  The results are expected within the next day or two.

Public prosecutor Victor Mueses told the AP in a phone interview Monday that witness accounts and evidence support an involuntary manslaughter charge for the 29-year-old Simon.

“The version that we have is that there was a dispute between two women and [Simon] tried to dissolve it, fired a shot that ended up wounding a young person in the arm and that same bullet lodged in the chest of the deceased,” Mueses said.

Simon’s lawyer, Carlos Olivares, who turned the gun over to local authorities on Monday, has a different story. Oliveras said he believes his client may not be to blame for Castillo’s death since Simon was firing random shots in the air and the victim was struck and killed in the chest. Oliveras also told the AP that the deceased, whose 17-year-old brother was also wounded in the incident, was Simon’s cousin.

“A group of 14, 15 people shot up in the air, including my client,” Oliveras told reporters. “So, [the police] planted the thesis that it could have been him.”

Oliveras said Simon fired the gun into the air and then left the park where the killing occurred oblivious to what had happened.

“He understood that nothing had happened at the moment. And 45 minutes later, when he was eating at some restaurant or discotheque, somebody tells him, ‘Hey, you’re the one who killed so-and-so,'” Olivares said, according to accounts by the Dominican media.

“The fact is that in this incident, many people fired guns, but the only person who’s been summoned for this is my client.”

The news, first reported by the AP, was confirmed to MLB.com by one of Simon’s agents, Phil Isaac, who was optimistic that Simon’s statement to the police would “be the end of the matter”.

Simon was joined Monday in the courthouse in Puerto Plata by close friend and former teammate Julio Lugo. Former Oriole Miguel Tejada has also reached out, according to Isaac, as well as a large number of Dominican-born baseball players, including those who have never played with Simon. Tejada is reportedly paying Simon’s legal bills.

“He is scared because he recognizes that he fired shots, although they went into the air,” said Lugo, who advised Simon to surrender after he fled the scene.

The Orioles have not commented publicly on the matter, but director of player development John Stockstill flew to the Dominican Republic on Monday with the intent of meeting with Simon, sorting through the facts and determining the proper course of action.

A native of Santiago, Simon was a key part of the O’s bullpen last season in the wake of injuries to Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson. Simon’s contract was purchased less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he compiled 17 saves in 2010. He went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA and was projected to be a part of the club’s bullpen this year.

Simon could face up to two years in prison if found guilty of
involuntary manslaughter. A murder conviction could have carried 30
years.

Update: Simon submits himself for questioning

Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon, the primary suspect in a fatal New Year’s Eve shooting in the Dominican Republic, submitted himself to police for questioning on Monday morning. The news, first reported by the Associated Press, was confirmed to MLB.com by one of Simon’s agents, Phil Isaac.

Isaac, of Para Sports Group, spoke with Simon on Sunday night and was waiting to hear back from his client following Monday’s meeting with the police.

“We are optimistic that hopefully this will be the end of the matter,” Isaac said in a phone interview early Monday afternoon.

Simon has been accused of allegedly shooting and killing 25-year-old Michel Castillo Almonte while attending a New Year’s Eve celebration in the coastal town of Luperon. Almonte’s 17-year-old brother, Starlin, was also wounded in the incident, according to the police statement.

The Orioles have not officially commented on the allegations; however, one of the club’s Dominican representatives, Felipe Alou Jr., told the AP Sunday that he had spoken with Simon and the right-hander denied involvement.

The Orioles pitcher was joined Monday in the courthouse in Puerto Plata by attorney Carlos Olivares and close friend and former teammate Julio Lugo. Former Oriole Miguel Tejada has also reached out, according to Isaac, as well as a large number of Dominican-born baseball players, including those who have never played with Simon.

The 29-year-old Simon was a key part of the Orioles bullpen in the wake of injuries to closer Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson. His contract was purchased less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Simon compiled 17 saves in Uehara’s absence. He went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA in total last season and was projected to be a part of the club’s 2011 bullpen.

If convicted, he could face a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Thoughts on Simon, Lee, LaRoche relievers

First, a happy and healthy New Year to all of you. Sorry for the slacking on blog entries here, but I’ve been trying to finish up my move to Baltimore. Usually, the holidays provide an ideal time for a beat reporter because it’s slower news-wise. But that hasn’t been the case for the O’s, as they reached a verbal agreement with Derrek Lee and have some serious issues coming out of the Dominican Republic.

*Yesterday saw some terribly tragic news with potential ramifications far beyond the baseball realm for Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon. Simon is the main suspect in a murder, although he has said he is innocent.

I’ve talked and exchanged texts with several of the Orioles players and team officials, and it’s certainly news that has shaken -and shocked – the organization. Simon was a pretty quiet guy in the clubhouse, but was well-liked and lauded for his efforts in the bullpen when Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Michael Gonzalez were hurt.  Although details are still emerging, I’d expect some sort of team statement today on the matter. News like this really puts baseball in perspective, doesn’t it?

*As for agreeing to terms with Lee, who will likely get his physical on Wednesday, I like the move. It’s a one-year deal with incentives that reportedly can get up to $10 million and the feeling is Lee and Mark Reynolds -who are both known to be tough, gritty players – will help add some pop to the lineup and some intensity to the O’s clubhouse. Both Reynolds and Lee played though injuries last season and -in addition to shoring up the corner infield defense – they are both outstanding guys to have around in terms of work ethic and, in manager Buck Showalter-speak, “want to”.

Signing Lee also makes Luke Scott the O’s regular DH, although a scenario where Lee and Scott switch once or twice a week wouldn’t surprise me.  

*I’ve gotten a lot of questions on what happened with Adam LaRoche negotiations, and the feeling in the front office was that, in the end, LaRoche didn’t want to come to Baltimore.

The O’s were very interested in LaRoche, but MASN.com’s report about a three-year deal being on the table was simply not true. Multiple sources -and several other media outlets in addition to MLB.com — confirmed there was never a three-year offer formally extended to LaRoche.

I had one source close to negotiations tell me that the Orioles were even hesitant to give LaRoche a two-year deal over a one-year offer to Lee. That should make those of you who were outraged at the idea of locking up LaRoche long term feel much, much better.

This is all (finally) over and –pending a physical — the Orioles have a legitimate first baseman in three-time Gold Glover winner Lee.

*Now what? The Orioles would still like another bat off the bench, a veteran starter and another catcher before heading to Spring Training, which is literally around the corner.

But the bullpen–especially with Simon in limbo–remains a top priority. The O’s have an offer out to right-hander Kevin Gregg and they would like to add a right-hander and a lefty to the current ‘pen. Losing Simon would give them another right-handed hole to fill. It could also make Grant Balfour a more enticing choice. The Orioles are interested, but as of Monday had not put a formal offer out to Balfour, who is a Type-A free agent and would cost the O’s their second-round Draft pick.

*Finally, I’m working on an Orioles inbox for Tuesday, so send any and all Orioles questions to brittany.ghiroli@mlb.com and include your name and hometown. Or send me a question on Twitter.  Thanks!

Orioles/Rays series finale

*Brian Roberts is still dealing with headaches and isn’t in the lineup for the second consecutive game. He is expected to see a doctor in Baltimore on Thursday.
*I blogged earlier about Alfredo Simon’s suspension being reduced to two games. He will start serving that tonight.
*Wondering when the last time Nick Markakis was a DH? Never. This is his first Major League DH start. Manager Buck Showalter was equally surprised.
*Heavy rain is expected for Thursday’s series opener in Detroit, so the Orioles are tentatively talking about doing a doubleheader on Friday, although there’s no word yet on whether it would be back-to-back or a day and night contest with a break. All this, of course, depends on Thursday’s weather and if the game gets called.
 
ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patterson LF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Nick Markakis DH
Luke Scott 1B
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie RF
Robert Andino 2B
Cesar Izturis SS

RHP Kevin Millwood

RAYS LINEUP:
John Jaso C
Ben Zobrist 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Dan Johnson 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Matt Joyce RF
B.J. Upton CF
Brad Hawpe DH
Jason Bartlett SS

RHP Jeff Niemann

Orioles pregame notes on Arrieta, Simon and coaches

Orioles rookie Jake Arrieta will not undergo surgery on the bone spur on his right elbow, after a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum (who looked over the MRI images from LA) concluded the same thing the team doctors did. The thought is, don’t fix what’s not broken and the spur doesn’t hamper Arrieta at all right now.

Alfredo Simon’s three-game suspension was reduced to two and he will begin serving that for tonight’s game against the Rays. Having a short ‘pen also makes it likely that Chris Tillman will get Friday’s start in Baltimore, since the Orioles might need the services of long man Rick VandenHurk.

No coaching decisions will be made until after the season, with manager Buck Showalter saying he would “be shocked” if anything was decided on before the World Series. But, Showalter won’t just leave the Orioles current coaches pondering their future for the next four weeks, and will sit down with each of them individually to discuss things before the season concludes on Sunday.

Showalter has an idea of what he’s going to do, but wasn’t going to tip his hand. He did say he was impressed with the work ethic and professionalism from the O’s current staff. If you look at his track record, he doesn’t tend to just dismantle coaching staffs, so while he could want to bring in some of his own people, I wouldn’t be surprised if he retains some of the current crop of coaches.

Bucks defends Simon, Jays still not happy

The Blue Jays took issue with Alfredo Simon plunking Jose Bautista in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game, a sentiment manager Buck Showalter understood. But the O’s manager was puzzled as to Toronto’s thinking that it was intentional.

“Let me get this straight, we have one right-handed pitcher down there, we already
knew he was going to spell [Rick VandenHurk] And  I was going to call down there and say, hey, you
are my only guy and I want you to hit Bautista after throwing two balls away?,” Showalter said prior to Monday’s opener against the Rays.

“But I understand  how
it looks and I would have been upset about it too. And I would have done what the
umpire did.”

 Showalter was fined and suspended –served during Monday’s game — while Simon appealed his three-game sentence and is expected to hear back on Thursday. Both Simon and Showalter reiterated on Monday that they did not want to hit Bautista, who Simon called his friend.

“It can look that way I and I can tell you it wasn’t intentional,
but I understand it might look differently,” Showalter said. “When [Simon] hit him it really put us in
a tough spot, we really dint want to use [Matt] Albers or [David] Hernandez or any of the guys
we had to use yesterday.”

Bautista said the suspensions did not necessarily bring him any satisfaction.

“They were going to get what they deserved regardless,” he said to reporters. “I think they knew what they were doing. The second time I got
hit it was pretty obvious. I don’t care what their comments were after
the game. I did read them. I don’t believe what they said.”

“I think everybody felt that [hitting Bautista] was intentional,” said pitcher Shawn Marcum, who was fined for grazing Luke Scott with a pitch as rebuttal. “He was a seventh, eighth-inning guy throwing
in the fifth. I think he came in for one reason and one reason only.
Like I said, I guess that’s how they want to do things over there.”

Gonzalez coming and what that means for Simon

Looks like Michael Gonzalez completed his rehab assignment. I’m told he cleaned out his locker and his nameplate is gone in Norfolk. Gonzalez tossed a scoreless inning to open last night’s Tides game after a rain-delay pushed back the start.

Gonzalez will be activated in the next day or so –when exactly is up for debate and officially depends on when he actually arrives in Baltimore. I imagine he’d be rested and ready to pitch immediately. The O’s could use him tomorrow to fill the extra roster spot vacated by Tillman, and option back rookie Josh Bell on Thursday if need be. Lots of scenarios with the roster, and it’s important to note that Gonzo will need to be added back on the team’s 40-man roster. An easy move would be to transfer Jim Johnson to the 60 day DL.

Gonzalez has been on the 60-day DL with a left shoulder strain that by all indication was an injury he had this spring. He will not take the closing job from Alfredo Simon right away, a fact interim manager Juan Samuel confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

Gonzalez’s velocity was in the 91-93 mph last night so that’s not an issue. But his command is something the organization wants to see get better. He will be put in “less-pressurized situations” (read: 6th or 7th inning type of stuff) until he proves he can be effective.

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