UPDATE: Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Alfredo Simon could be released as early as Wednesday. According to Phil Isaac of the Para Sports Group, one of Simon’s agents, a ballistics test proved that the bullet that killed Michael Esteban Castillo Almonte didn’t come from the gun Simon turned into authorities. Simon could be released after his attorneys file another appeal on Wednesday.
9:20 AM: Orioles’ reliever Alfredo Simon has been in a Dominican jail for a long time now, suspected but not yet charged in the shooting death of Michael Castillo on New Year’s Eve. The Orioles have placed him on the restricted list, likely figuring that it would be a long, long time — if ever — before they see him again.
Now that has changed, with Brittany Ghiroli reporting that authorities have moved on to a different suspect and that Simon may be released from custody in a week to ten days. His agent said “we fully expect him to be back up — and pitching very soon.”
As Ghiroli notes, even if he’s released Simon is a longshot to make the Orioles Opening Day roster. Still, good news for Simon if this is borne out. I mean, no one who has been in the bigs wants to pitch in Norfolk, but it sure as hell beats a jail cell.
(thanks to reader Random Digits for the heads up)
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .