The Cincinnati Reds needed a pitcher. Alfredo Simon needed a home.
So why not reunite the veteran right-hander with the team that traded him to Detroit for Eugenio Suarez after the 2014 season?
“Our history with Alfredo made this a much easier decision,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We know what we’re getting. He is extremely resilient. His durability is a huge bonus.”
Simon agreed to a one-year contract Thursday reportedly worth $2 million and is expected to step right into an otherwise iffy and inexperienced rotation.
“There are just too many question marks now with the readiness of some of our young guys,” Price said. “We don’t want to force them to the big leagues too soon, and there is the injury component.”
Cody Reed, a rotation candidate, has had half a year in Double-A. Robert Stephenson, the Reds’ first pick in the 2011 draft, had half a year at Triple-A with mixed results.
Homer Bailey (elbow surgery) and John Lamb (back surgery) will not be ready to start the season. Michael Lorenzen was diagnosed with a sprained elbow ligament and is shut down for at least several weeks.
“We’re excited to have (Simon) back,” Reds GM Dick Williams said. “He is someone we can plug into the rotation while we continue to be very diligent about preparing our young pitchers to succeed in the future.”
Simon, 34, has been throwing in the Dominican Republic.
“I’m excited to be here,” said Simon, who turned down an offer from Toronto. “I am going to be ready as soon as I can. I’ve been throwing to hitters. Everybody knows me here. There are some new faces here but I will get to know them as soon as I can.”
Simon spent three seasons with the Reds from 2012-14, pitching to a 3.16 ERA in 345 innings. He was 15-10 in 2014 and made the All-Star team, then struggled with the Tigers last season, posting a 13-12 record and 5.05 ERA in 31 starts.
“We’ve had our eye on the pitching market all spring and will continue to look at it if there is someone that can help us,” Williams said. “Before we got to camp we did want to supplement the ability of our rotation to throw innings and not put pressure on any pitcher to have to ask to do more than he is ready to do.”
Price said Simon sent the Reds a video of his last bullpen session.
“He threw 50 pitches,” Price said. “He will throw a couple bullpens most likely and get slotted into games to build him up. In the three years he was with us, he was the most durable arm on our staff.”
Simon no longer has a rape complaint hanging over his head. According to Simon’s lawyer, his accuser received a $150,000 settlement last October after seeking $5 million in damages and $10 in million punitive damages for an alleged incident in Washington D.C. No charges were filed.
• Jon Moscot was scratched from his Wednesday night start with soreness in his right rib cage. He felt it swinging the bat in batting practice. “This isn’t a setback,” Price said. “We just want him to take a couple days to get the soreness out. He can toss right now.”
• Lorenzen will not be ready for the season. He was examined Thursday by team physician Timothy Kremchek and is restricted from throwing until Kremchek can examine him in a couple of weeks.
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