Pre-game notes (quotes added)

Second baseman Brian Roberts still hasn't been cleared for baseball-related activities after back specialist Dr. Lee Riley examined him yesterday at Johns Hopkins.

Manager Dave Trembley doesn't have one specific closer or set-up man. He's waiting for pitchers to step up and claim those roles.

"I'm all for it," Trembley said. "That's what I told (Kam) Mickolio when I sent him out. I said, 'Hey, listen, what we've been trying in the bullpen has not worked. I've been giving it to just about everybody and until we find the right combination we're probably going to continue to make moves.'

"If I have to try something different, don't blame me for trying because at this particular point in time, I think it's open for the best man to step forward and say he wants it."

Alfredo Simon's role hasn't been defined, but Trembley indicated that the right-hander might get the chance to close.

"You never know unless you give people an opportunity, so we'll see if I do that or go in another direction," Trembley said.

"Whoever can get outs is going to get a chance. I don't think there are any roles. There is no closer right now for me. Who wants it? Somebody take it. There is no set-up guy. Who wants it? Somebody take it."

Simon is back in the majors after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on May 5. Talk about being ahead of schedule.

"I think it's an incredible story," Trembley said. "Last year when we were in Tampa the last week of the season, I went over to instructional league and the guy was basically on a minimal throwing program. Over the winter (head athletic trainer) Richie Bancells told me Simon was going to be a full-go in spring training, and usually the first few weeks those guys are on a throwing program with the trainer. The guy was full-go the very first day.

"He is strong physically and mentally. He wants to be here. I asked him today how he was and he said, 'I'm not afraid.' That's what he said. 'I'm not afraid and I want the ball.' And I said, 'We're glad to have you.'

"I hope he does well. I think everybody should be pulling for him for what he's gone through. He looks good. He's ready to go."

Simon was moved out of Triple-A Norfolk's rotation so he could eventually join the Orioles' bullpen. John Stocksill, director of player development, watched Simon pitch over the weekend and noted that the right-hander was throwing in the mid-90s with good command.

"Let's hope it continues," Trembley said.

Garrett Atkins is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow night against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.

Mike Gonzalez still isn't on a throwing program in Sarasota. He's just performing light exercises.

"This is the second week of his strengthening work for his shoulder," Trembley said.

Asked how he enjoyed yesterday's off-day after Sunday's victory in Boston, Trembley replied, "I didn't have to wear a disguise walking around town. It's been tough, but I'm sure it was a lot more enjoyable for the players."

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