After solid ninth inning, Simon looks to bounce back

After giving up a homer over four straight appearances, O's right-hander Alfredo Simon pitched a 1-2-3, ninth inning last night.

He needed a good outing and got one in the O's 6-5 loss to the Mariners.

"The night before I just got behind in the count and he was a fastball hitter. Last night I used all my pitches and my two seamer and threw the first pitch for a strike.

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"Sometimes when you get behind the count and the game is close, they are looking for a homer. If you make a mistake, they might get it because they know I'm a power pitcher. They are looking for a fastball.

"I was feeling a little tired (recently), but everything is okay."

When the Orioles signed Simon, late in the 2008 season, he was pitching in the Mexican League.

Then when last season started, he was in the club's rotation. Two starts into his season, he was headed for Tommy John surgery. That took place last May 5th.

Simon still throws hard after the surgery, but his fastball may be just a little off what it once was.

"Before I could throw 100 or 101, but now I throw and I don't feel any pain. Now I just throw 98 or 99 sometimes."

Simon stabilized the back-end of the O's bullpen at a time when it really needed that. He has saved 17 of 21 and, while he may not be the Orioles future closer, he may well have a future with the team.

"I just tried to take advantage of the opportunity they've given me and put up the best numbers I can. They know what I've got and I just tried to work hard everyday to show them I belong here.

"My arm is feeling new right now. My arm is completely different this year. Sometimes when you have that surgery, you can wait two years for your arm to get strong, but everything is fine right now."

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