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)
A brutal couple of updates on the night of Jose Fernandez’s death from Jeff Passan of Yahoo and from Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.
Passan reports on the leadup to the fateful boat trip. About how a friend of one of the other men killed on the boat had pleaded with him not to go out in the dark. Then there’s this:
After Saturday’s game, Fernandez had asked a number of teammates to join him on the boat. One by one, they declined.
Marcell Ozuna was one of them. Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports:
Following Monday’s game, Ozuna said he turned down an invitation from Fernandez after Saturday night’s game to go out with him and join him for a spin on his boat . . . “That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,’” Ozuna said. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.
Losing a friend and teammate under such circumstances is brutal enough. Adding on survivor’s guilt would be close to impossible to bear.
David Ortiz has used Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune as his personal podium all year as he says goodbye to the Major Leagues. He continues that today, on the eve of his final series against the Yankees.
In it Ortiz talks about what playing the Yankees meant to him over the course of his career. About how the fan hate was real but something he embraced. About how the series back in the days of Jeter and Pettitte and Mariano and Mussina were “wars.” He also talks about how the Yankees were basically everything when he was growing up in the Dominican Republic. The only caps and shirts you saw were Yankees shirts and how they were about the only team you could see on TV there. As such, coming to Boston and then playing against the Yankees was a big, big deal.
Ortiz says “[s]ome players are born to be Yankees, you know what I’m saying? I was born to play against the Yankees.”
And he’ll get to do it only three more times.