02/20/11 11:00 PM EST
Sources: Orioles' Simon expected to be cleared
Reliever has been in Dominican jail in relation to shooting death
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
One source said that significant progress in Simon's case is expected by midweek and that it will "bust this thing wide open," in terms of proving he was not involved in the death of 25-year-old Michael Castillo, Simon's cousin who was shot after a New Year's celebration in the town of Luperon.
Simon -- whose gun was determined by ballistics not to be the one that fired the fatal shot -- was denied bail earlier this month, and multiple reports out of the Dominican at the time speculated that the 29-year-old, facing an involuntary manslaughter charge, would remain in jail for at least a year as the investigation continued. This week's expected developments, coupled with the belief that the Dominican authorities are now investigating another suspect, will help expedite Simon's release.
The Orioles have not commented publicly on Simon's situation since he was named as a suspect and turned himself in to authorities two days after Castillo's death, and the club has not commented on the latest information. Because Simon has not been able to report to Spring Training, the team placed him on Major League Baseball's restricted list on Friday, freeing up a 40-man roster spot for designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, whose free-agent deal was finalized last week.
Simon could remain on the restricted list until he is able to rejoin the team, and would not be paid or accrue service time until he is removed from the list. The organization was operating under the impression that Simon would not be able to report by Saturday, MLB's mandatory reporting date. While that remains likely to be the case, if everything transpires as expected, Simon should be pitching this spring.
Phil Isaac, one of Simon's agents, said that he was confident his client would be ready in time for the 2011 season.
"We fully expect him to be back up -- and pitching very soon," Isaac said by telephone on Sunday night.
Isaac declined to further comment on the matter.
Simon went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA and 17 saves in 49 appearances last season. He missed nearly all of 2009 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and filled in admirably last year for an O's bullpen hit hard by injury.
Given the wealth of relievers in this year's camp, Simon would be considered a long shot to make the team's Opening Day roster.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.