UPDATE: Alfredo Simon held pending the results of ballistic tests

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UPDATE: According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, Simon is being held in the Dominican Republic pending the results of ballistic tests. Authorities are currently trying to confirm whether the bullet that killed Castillo came from Simon’s gun. He has yet to be charged with a crime, though he is the lead suspect.

9:28 PM: According to Dionisio Soldevila, a Spanish language correspondent for the Associated Press, Alfredo Simon will be held in his native Dominican Republic for one year without bail until his shooting case goes to trial.

His lawyers, who are being bankrolled by former Orioles teammate Miguel Tejada, intend to appeal the ruling, so we probably haven’t heard the last of this.

In case you haven’t heard, Simon reportedly fired two bullets into the air during on New Year’s Eve, killing 25-year-old Micheal Esteban Castillo and wounding Castillo’s 17-year-old half-brother.

The Orioles reliever has maintained that the shooting was an accident and that the victim was a friend.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.