UPDATE: Alfredo Simon could be cleared and released as soon as Wednesday

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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)

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.