05/19/11 1:00 AM ET
Simon likely to relieve for O's once activated
By Avi Zaleon and Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
The most likely scenario involves the Simon as a long reliever, and -- although he is stretched out to be a starter -- that will be a function of how the rotation performs over the next few days.
Simon, who is currently on the restricted list, pitched in three games with Double-A Bowie and posted a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings. The Orioles worked out an agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association that allowed Simon to go on a rehab assignment that was similar in length to the weeks of Spring Training that he missed.
Simon tossed six scoreless innings in his final 83-pitch outing against Richmond on Tuesday night, and the team's deadline to make a decision with him is Saturday. If Simon is not added to the roster -- an unlikely scenario -- he would have to clear waivers to go to the Minor Leagues.
Simon was the lead suspect in a New Year's Day shooting in the Dominican Republic, and The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Simon will stand trial for that case. According to the AP, it can take two months for that date to be set, and Simon can pitch for the Orioles in the interim.
Used as the O's closer for parts of last season, Simon went 4-2 with 37 strikeouts and a 4.93 ERA.
Gonzalez rattled after 'shocking' HBP
BALTIMORE -- Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez was ejected in the top of the 15th inning on Wednesday night after hitting Yankees outfielder Chris Dickerson in the head and causing him to exit the game, which New York went on to win, 4-1.
"In no way, shape or form was I trying to hit Dickerson or anything like that," said Gonzalez, who stood on the mound in a state of shock as Dickerson crumpled to the ground. "I was trying to throw a fastball down and away. It got away from me, and I'm sorry it hit him."
Dickerson -- whose helmet endured a shattered bill -- did walk to first base after being examined by the Yankees' medical staff, but he was removed in favor of a pinch-runner -- starting pitcher A.J. Burnett -- almost immediately after arriving at the base. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team is erring on the side of caution with Dickerson, who was taken to the University of Maryland's hospital to undergo a CT scan.
"He was lucid and knew where he was at, but he had a lump on the side of his head," Girardi said, adding that Dickerson never lost consciousness and will probably be diagnosed with a concussion. "You've got to do everything precautionary now."
If the injury is ruled to be a concussion, Dickerson, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to Tuesday's game, could be placed on the seven-day disabled list. Asked if he felt whether Gonzalez's pitch was intentional, Girardi said he wasn't going to speculate.
"It's just a scary part of the game when a guy gets hit there," Girardi said.
The ejection capped an already-ugly inning for Gonzalez, who allowed a go-ahead two-run double to Robinson Cano on his first pitch in relief. Gonzalez's 1-1 offering caught the side of Dickerson's head, and Gonzalez was ejected immediately by home-plate umpire Dan Bellino. The final member of the O's exhausted bullpen, Gonzalez remained on the field while manager Buck Showalter came out to talk to the umpiring crew, which had assembled near the first-base line.
"It was tough for me," Showalter said of keeping his cool upon going out to talk with Bellino and the rest of the crew. "First of all, you take a deep breath. Regardless of what decision that umpire makes -- a young umpire just starting out in the Major Leagues -- you've got a guy laying on the ground, and you don't know how seriously he's hurt, and I have a lot of concerns for that. I'm not going to go out there and vehemently argue while a guy's laying on the ground, potentially a real tough situation physically."
Like Gonzalez, Showalter was confident it wasn't a purpose pitch, but the manager understood why the call was made to toss the lefty from the game.
"I wouldn't have done it, but I'm biased," Showalter said. "I wouldn't have ejected him, but I can understand how someone [could]. ... My first thoughts weren't on Gonzo being ejected, but the health of Dickerson."
"It was kind of shocking," Gonzalez said of watching a stricken Dickerson fall to the ground. I hit him, and obviously I get thrown out, and I was more worried about how he was doing down there. You see a player go down like that -- obviously in his head area -- I really wasn't sure that [Bellino] threw me out or not.
"First of all, I didn't understand why," Gonzalez added, "and second of all, Dickerson is down there on the ground, and that's the last thing you want to see."
It was Gonzalez's first career ejection, and it capped a dismal outing in which he couldn't record an out, throwing just four pitches and charged with a run to raise his ERA to 8.53.
Guthrie willing to start, but O's unsure
Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie was scheduled to make his next start against the Yankees on Thursday.
But a funny thing happened in the 15th inning of Wednesday's series-opening 4-1 loss -- Guthrie was asked to warm up in the bullpen and come into the game.
Guthrie threw seven pitches and got the final three outs recorded by O's pitchers on Wednesday, as Baltimore couldn't rally in the bottom of the 15th.
Now, the O's coaching staff is faced with the choice of allowing Guthrie to make his originally scheduled start or skipping his place in the rotation and going with Brad Bergesen, who would be pitching on four days' rest.
Manager Buck Showalter said after the game that he didn't want to immediately commit to a decision, but he recognized Bergesen as an option.
"Bergy's got four days' rest tomorrow," Showalter said. "He could potentially start tomorrow. We had Jeremy down there before the inning started anyway."
However, Guthrie said that he is ready to make his scheduled start, if the O's allow him to.
"I am going to talk to Buck," Guthrie said. "I told him I saved everything I had through limited warmup pitches. I just tried to work down in the zone quick. I'm ready to go tomorrow, so we'll see. I have to go talk to him first."
Guthrie was brought in after Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez was ejected upon hitting the Yankees' Chris Dickerson on the helmet with a pitch. With the O's bullpen bare, Showalter was forced to reach into his starting rotation and warm up Guthrie.
Showalter said he purposefully chose to use Thursday's scheduled starter instead of a position player.
"I'm not a big backer of pitching position players; you're asking for trouble," Showalter said. "At 4-1, we still think we're in that game. If we get a couple different things go on that last inning, we've got the tying run at the plate there. I'm not going to give in there. And I don't think it's fair to position players to put them in that position."
In all, the Orioles used nine pitchers in the loss.
Bergesen is 1-4 with a 4.35 ERA through eight appearances this season. He has struck out 24 batters, walked 10 and allowed four home runs. In his start against the Yankees on April 23, Bergesen gave up six runs over six innings, striking out four in a 15-3 loss.
Placed on DL, Izturis will have elbow surgery
The Orioles placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and replaced him on the roster with first baseman Brandon Snyder.
Vice president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed that Izturis -- who has had nerve irritation in his right elbow, causing numbness in his fingers -- will miss six to eight weeks upon having right elbow surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his arm. Izturis, who underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday, said the problem is rooted in the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2005.
"I think it was the nerve," Izturis said. "When they do Tommy John [surgery], a lot of doctors don't move the nerve for some reason. They didn't move mine."
Izturis added that he has been dealing with the numbness for a while, but it has reached a point where he cannot throw or grip the ball and something had to be done.
"For a week, I have done all this stuff with the trainer, but it's still numb in my fingers and nothing has helped," the 31-year-old shortstop said.
Originally, three options faced the Orioles with regard to Izturis -- give him an injection to help ease the pain and see if he can play through it, choose surgery to remove the scar tissue that has formed over his nerve or move the ulnar nerve.
This season, Izturis has a .192 batting average with nine strikeouts and one RBI. At Triple-A Norfolk this season, Snyder was batting .276 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.
Headache forces Roberts out of O's lineup
BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts wasn't in Wednesday's starting lineup against the Yankees, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed that the second baseman was dealing with headaches and is day-to-day.
"He's had some headaches and has had trouble sleeping the last couple nights," Showalter said of Roberts, who was not in Tuesday's starting lineup in Boston before the game was postponed.
"So, before moving forward, we want to check it out."
Roberts was scheduled to be evaluated by the team doctors on Wednesday to get a better idea of how to proceed. Showalter said Roberts started feeling the ill effects when he slid into first base headfirst while hustling down the first-base path after hitting a ball off Daisuke Matsuzaka's midsection in the first inning of Monday night's game. Right now, the team isn't sure if that was the cause of Roberts' headaches or if it just amplified his symptoms.
Any injury to Roberts would be a significant blow for an Orioles team that has placed utility infielder Cesar Izturis on the disabled list and is dealing with a left oblique strain to first baseman Derrek Lee that could land him on the DL as well.
Given Roberts' injury history -- he was limited to just 59 games with a herniated disc in his lower back last season and was slowed this spring with a neck muscle issue -- Showalter was asked if there would come a time when he would prefer to have the second baseman alter his game to stay on the field.
"We talked to him about [the headfirst slide]," said Showalter, who added that he's never been a manager who mandates that a player has to alter his game.
"The problem [is], in the heat of the moment and the heat of the competition you are trying to get there the fastest way you can and he feels like he can. But it's part of his game, whether he's sliding headfirst into second or third or first. There's always risk involved."
The Orioles' leadoff hitter, Roberts is batting .221 with three homers and 19 RBIS in 39 games. He had a hot start to the season but has struggled in May, opening the month with a brutal 4-for-45 stretch in 11 games. Roberts has hit safely in his past three contests, going 5-for-15 during that timeframe.
For now, O's avoid DL stint with Lee
Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee was not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Yankees due to a strained left oblique -- an injury he aggravated on Monday in Boston. Lee is considered day to day, and Luke Scott played first base in his place for the series opener against New York.
Lee said on Wednesday that he felt "much better," but manager Buck Showalter said that was expected.
The Orioles are cautiously optimistic as Lee tries to recover and stay off the disabled list, but the club still activated first baseman Brandon Snyder from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, when Cesar Izturis hit the DL. In addition to Scott, utility catcher/infielder Jake Fox could also potentially take Lee's place in the lineup, which he did in the third inning on Monday against the Red Sox.
Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy recently came off the DL after suffering from a left oblique strain -- another reason the Orioles are being extra cautious.
Lee has been bothered by discomfort in his left side for weeks, but he aggravated the muscle further while running the bases during his first at-bat on Monday.
Lee is hitting .231 on the season with 14 RBIs and 41 strikeouts.
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer was shut down on Wednesday and did not throw his scheduled three simulated innings in extended spring camp. Duchscherer's problem was not physical, so it's not related to his hip strain. Right now, it's not clear what the team's next step with Duchscherer will be. ... Brian Matusz, on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, will throw his second rehab start on Saturday, and at the moment, it's scheduled to take place at Double-A Bowie, although inclement weather could change that location to Triple-A Norfolk. Matusz will throw around 75-80 pitches. ... Manager Buck Showalter said the O's rotation will stay on turn as of right now, with Zach Britton followed in this series by Jeremy Guthrie. Brad Bergesen is scheduled to pitch on Friday.
Avi Zaleon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.