Pre-game Trembley

First base coach John “T-Bone” Shelby will miss tonight’s game because he’s being inducted into the Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame in Lexington, Ky. Bench coach Jeff Datz will handle the first base duties.

Alfredo Simon doesn’t always make it look easy, but he remains the team’s closer and continues to have manager Dave Trembley’s full support.

“I would evaluate him as a guy that is an underdog who has overachieved, who has proven a lot of people wrong, who has come back from a terrible injury in a record amount of time, who is as appreciative as all get-out for a second chance, who will do anything to pitch in the big leagues, who gives us a presence in that role physically and mentally,” Trembley said.

“He’s not afraid. He likes what he’s doing. He has fun with it. I know he keeps you on the edge of your seat sometimes. Some of the clubs test him. They wait him out and make him throw a lot of pitches, but he’s gotten the job done against some very, very good teams. And for a guy who’s never closed before, he’s been pretty darn good. But there’s a long way to go. There will be some slipups along the way by him, by me, by all of us, but it won’t change my opinion of him right now.

“I’m just amazed by the fact that he’s been so resilient in a role that he’s never done. It’s not only different physically, but it’s different mentally.”

Trembley won’t try to predict the future and tell you whether Simon will close throughout the summer, “but I’m telling you right now, I feel pretty good whenever we have a lead to give him the ball.”

Trembley said he also has confidence in Koji Uehara as the ninth inning specialist, but he prefers using the right-hander in a set-up role.

As expected, Luke Scott remains in the lineup after yesterday’s grand slam. He’s homered in two straight games and has four hits in his last two games after collecting four in the previous nine (4-for-28). He’s gone 6-for-15 in his last four games after going 1-for-19 with 10 strikeouts in his previous six.

“I’m confident that perhaps he’s turning the corner,” Trembley said. “This is the good phase of Luke Scott that we’re beginning to see, and it comes at a good time for us.”

Scott always takes these slumps hard, which most likely compounds the problem.

“It was really tough on him,” Trembley said. “If that camera wasn’t running right now and I could talk to you off the record, I’d tell you how tough it was. It was very tough for him. And he’s a great kid. I think he’s fought through it admirably.

“It is extremely, extremely difficult to put your finger on why guys struggle to the extent that they do, and then at the seemingly flick of a switch, it goes in the other direction. Especially when you talk about Luke. It’s not that the guy doesn’t work. I mean, this guy’s as prepared as anybody. We all know what his off-season routine is. He’s hit early every day on the road and at home. It’s just a part of what he goes through and it’s obviously not pleasant, but the old axiom, you take the good with the bad and the bitter with the sweet. It sure is a whole lot easier taking the sweet.

“Bitter is a tough, tough pill to swallow for him, for everybody else. But I take the approach that you’ve got to look forward, you’ve got to look to the good, you’ve got to see the positive, you’ve got to build on that. You’ve got to let the bad stuff and the negative go and say, ‘Hey, OK, that’s out of the way for a while.’ It may come back. It probably will. Let’s hope the frequency is further down the road. That’s all you can say. Hopefully, it’s further down the road.”

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