Wada vs. Hammel (Simon claimed, game update)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter is waiting to make the final cuts until checking on “a couple physical issues.”

“We’ve still got a couple days, so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” he said.

Showalter has contingency plans in case certain players aren’t ready for opening day. He isn’t providing specifics.

Showalter is monitoring Tsuyoshi Wada’s health and trying to get him stretched out. Wada is starting today for the State College of Florida.

Ronny Paulino is catching Wada. Everyone else on that side is a Manatee.

The Orioles could backdate Wada’s assignment to the disabled list so he’d be eligible to return on April 10. It doesn’t matter that he’s pitching today.

Wada was held back in camp because of inflammation in his left elbow.

“He’s telling us it feels good for the most,” Showalter said. “It’s just a matter of if we feel like, because of his injury, if he’s stretched out far enough to be ready to go.”

Showalter said he’ll have a decision after today’s game or Wednesday morning. He should be ready to announce the entire rotation.

“See if we can stretch him out and see if it’s in the best interest of him and our club for him to start with us,” Showalter said.

Wada has thrown two innings so far, allowing one gift hit and walking a batter. He’s thrown 32 pitches, 20 for strikes. His fastball has topped out at 92 mph, and its touched 90 multiple times.

Jason Hammel has retired all nine batters he’s faced, allowing only one ball out of the infield. He’s thrown 29 pitches in three innings, 20 for strikes. His fastball is 92-93 mph.

Note: An industry source confirmed that the Reds claimed Alfredo Simon off waivers.

The Reds need a bullpen arm after losing closer Ryan Madson. Sean Marshall will close, and Simon could be used in a set-up role or as a long reliever. He’s also started in the past.

The Astros and Brewers also had expressed interest in Simon, who was placed on waivers Friday.

Removing Simon from the 40-man roster opens a spot for Nick Johnson or Ronny Paulino. Another spot is expected to open when the Orioles remove outfielder Jai Miller.

The Sun first reported that the Reds claimed Simon.

Game update: Hammel walked the leadoff hitter in the fourth, who was caught stealing, and allowed three straight singles to fall behind, 1-0. Another run scored on a wild pitch.

Hammel has given up two runs and three hits, with one walk and one strikeout, in four innings. He’s thrown 52 pitches, 34 for strikes.

J.J. Hardy homered off Wada in the bottom of the fourth. He’s hit four home runs in the last three games, including two Sunday against the Rays.

Wada has allowed one run and three hits in four innings, with one walk and two strikeouts. He’s thrown 57 pitches, 35 for strikes.

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