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."
Scott's approach at dish 'shifting' with times
TORONTO -- Luke Scott has seen the shift time and again over his seven Major League seasons, as teams adjust to his tendency to pull the ball to right field. It's a frustrating reality for a pull hitter and part of the reason why Scott has hit just .251 this year.
That's why on Tuesday, Scott decided to change his approach, bunting to the left side of the infield twice for singles while the Blue Jays shifted all of their infielders to the right side. They were probably the two easiest hits Scott has gotten all year.
"I'm tired of hitting balls into the shift. I'm not a big fan of hitting .240. So you do what you can," Scott said.
The first one came with two out in the fourth inning, when Scott laid the first pitch he saw down the third-base line, easily reaching first for a single. The 32-year-old pulled it off again in the seventh, but had to be a little more patient to do so.
Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar actually guarded against the bunt until Scott fouled off the second pitch he saw for his first strike. Then Escobar moved back towards second base, giving Scott nothing but green pasture into which to bunt.
"That's usually what happens," Scott said. "They'll give up a strike. And then after the first strike, sometimes they'll say, 'Hey, if you're willing to take a chance at it, go ahead.' So I took a chance."
Scott, it turns out, has been working on the play since Spring Training, when the Orioles coaching staff approached him about adding it to his repertoire.
"I told him, at this rate you'll be hitting .300 by the end of the month," manager Buck Showalter joked before Wednesday's game. "The way I've approached it is kind of what's best for the Orioles. If we're three runs down leading off an inning and we've got a chance to get a baserunner -- you can't hit a three-run homer with nobody out there. Just take [the hit]. And if it's there, our guys will continue to take it."
Even Blue Jays manager John Farrell -- who said he feared Scott's power more than anything -- was impressed with the veteran's new found method of reaching base.
"He adjusted to us -- that's clear," Farrell said. "The second time, after he got the strike, we backed out of there to go back to the normal positioning, and he did a good job with putting the ball on the ground with a bunt."
Starting pitcher Zach Britton would have been manager Buck Showalter's next option if Tuesday night's game lasted into the 12th inning. Adam Lind ended the game with a walk-off home run off Koji Uehara in the 11th.
Brian Roberts had to take a day off from his exertional program in Sarasota, Fla., Wednesday after waking up with a headache. The 33-year-old has missed the last 25 games with concussion-like symptoms.
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer will throw 60-70 pitches Thursday at extended spring training. He will be reevaluated afterward, as he continues to recover from a lower back injury.
Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.