O's activate Simon, option Bergesen
Baltimore gets its closer back in time for West Coast trip
BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Alfredo Simon was activated from the disabled list on Monday. To make space on the 25-man roster, Baltimore optioned righty Brad Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk after Sunday's 11-4 loss to the Mets.
Simon, who's been on the DL since May 25 with a strained left hamstring, threw about 20 pitches in a simulated inning before Sunday's game. Interim manager Juan Samuel said that the right-hander is not likely to pitch in Monday's game against San Francisco, giving Simon an extra day of rest before facing big league hitters again. He has thrown three times since Wednesday.
"Simon threw his pitches very well today," Samuel said. "What the plan is for us is to maybe get him out there for an inning until he feels comfortable and he feels that he's ready to go, then he probably steps right in [to the closer's role]."
Simon could make his next appearance in a non-save situation before Samuel goes back to him for the ninth. David Hernandez will get another shot at closing if the situation presents itself. In the long run, Samuel said that he will use both relievers in the closing role, depending on who is fresher. If one pitcher has gone two or three days in a row, he said, then the other will get the call to close.
"We haven't been in that [save] situation a whole lot, but we do expect [Simon] to close some, and Hernandez is still going to get his shot at closer," Samuel said before Sunday's game. "There's going to be some flexibility at the back end, having those guys there, having [Jason] Berken down there, having [Frank] Mata down there. So that back end is going to start looking pretty good. We haven't had an opportunity to have closing situations, but hopefully we see those guys pitch more often in each role we have mapped out for them."
Simon said he feels ready for his return.
"I feel a lot better," he said before throwing on Sunday morning. "I'm just trying to come back and do the same thing that I did before to help the team win games."
Bergesen pitched in relief twice after being moved to the bullpen on June 5 following a start on June 2. Samuel said he wanted to option a pitcher in order to keep a full stock of hitters to use in double-switch situations during the team's Interleague series at San Francisco and San Diego this week. He chose Bergesen in order to get the righty back into a starting role and allow him to get the innings he needs to be successful.
"I think we're doing him a disservice by keeping him in the bullpen," Samuel said. "This is a guy that we think is going to be a starter here for a long time, and he just needs to go down there and pitch."
Bergesen was 3-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 starts before going to the bullpen. He pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief, allowing three hits and one earned run. He said he would rather stay in the big leagues as a reliever, but recognizes that this move is probably better for his career, as he wants to remain a starter long-term.
"Of course I'm not happy about the situation," Bergesen said, "but what's done is done -- there's no grudges that are held here. I've just gotta go down and work my butt off to get back here."
Noah Rosenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.