Simon lands on DL; Berken recalled

Simon lands on DL; Berken recalled

Simon lands on DL; Berken recalled
TORONTO -- The Orioles played things safe Wednesday, placing reliever Alfredo Simon on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

The move is retroactive to June 13, which is when Simon first began to feel the discomfort. He was unavailable to pitch both Tuesday and Wednesday, and was a big question mark for Thursday's series finale with the Blue Jays, as well.

Instead of asking Simon to rush his recovery in order to be available to pitch in the near future, the team opted to take the safe route and send him to Sarasota, Fla., where he will undergo two weeks of rehab.

"Usually, the way you find out with these things is you go out there and pitch, and if he goes out there and pitches and has a problem two or three days from now -- well, then we've really got a problem," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I didn't feel like there was any given as to when he'd be able to pitch again and what we were getting."

Simon was completely understanding of the team's move, and was hopeful that he would be ready to rejoin the lineup when his 15 days are up on June 28.

"It's not bad, but it's bothering me," Simon said. "I can't pitch like that. If it gets worse, it's not going to be good."

Right-hander Jason Berken, meanwhile, rejoins the Orioles from Triple-A Norfolk to take Simon's place in the bullpen. Berken started the season with the team, but was optioned to Norfolk on May 20 after allowing 27 hits and 15 earned runs over 17 innings.

At Norfolk, Berken shifted to the rotation, where he went 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA. He'll pitch out of the bullpen again with the Orioles, but Showalter didn't rule out giving the 27-year-old a start at some point. Berken has been stretched out at Norfolk -- where he threw more than 90 pitches in his last outing.

"I think he's got some upside to both," Showalter said when asked if he saw Berken as more of a starter or a reliever. "I wouldn't say it's outside the realm of possibility that if we needed [Berken to start], we could. With him, I feel comfortable doing that."

Berken was sent to Norfolk to work on several aspects of his mechanics, including his hand position and body movement on his pitches. He also now delivers his pitches from the right side of the rubber instead of the left, something former Orioles pitching coach Mark Connor had suggested in Spring Training.

The move is intended to create more deception on his pitches, and Berken said he noticed the results right away.

"I jumped over there after my second start and I felt like right away I was able to adjust to it. I feel really good on that side," Berken said. "I feel a lot better now as a result of going down [to Triple-A.] So I'm really excited just to pitch again up here."

Berken hasn't pitched since June 9, meaning Showalter may look to get him some action sooner rather than later.

"He just told me to be ready to go [Wednesday]. So if it's [Wednesday], then great -- I'm ready," Berken said. "You want to pitch. I want to be out there as much as I can. So hopefully it's sooner rather than later. Whenever that time is, I'll be ready."