Shutdown mode

September means roster expansion. It also means shutting down the occasional player.

It also means shopping for school supplies, which ranks in the top three of my least-favorite tasks in life. I'd rather remove my appendix with a melon baller. But I digress...

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We already know that the Orioles are going to add more players from the minors, including pitcher Chris Tillman. At least one more reliever is coming up - and that doesn't include David Hernandez, who will be activated from the disabled list after a brief rehab stint at Double-A Bowie.

I agree with my friend Jeff Zrebiec from The Sun that the Orioles should consider shutting down reliever Alfredo Simon. He made a remarkable recovery from ligament-reconstructive surgery. The season has been a success on many levels, but it's deteriorating for him and that's not good when you're being evaluated by a new manager.

You're a nugget or you're nudged out the door.

He's allowed home runs in five of his last eight outings. It's become harder to trust him in a close game. Koji Uehara is handling the ninth innings. Bullpen reinforcements are heading this way. Giving Simon the rest of the season off wouldn't be the worst thing.

I should note that his velocity is fine. His fastball was hitting 97 mph last night. But he's not blowing it past as many hitters.

Jake Arrieta has allowed seven runs and 13 hits in his last two starts covering nine innings. He's totaled 161 innings this year between Triple-A Norfolk and the majors after setting his career high with 150 2/3 in 2009. He's in top condition, and Buck Showalter seems more inclined to push him deeper into games than some of the other young guns, but it's worth debating whether he should be shut down soon.

The Orioles are considering a six-man rotation, but they'd also like to give Rick VandenHurk a few starts.

Last time I checked, VandenHurk was still on the roster - mumbling to himself in five languages.

Arrieta didn't walk a batter last night, but he threw 95 pitches in five innings. That's not easy to do. And his tempo needs work, as Showalter pointed out. The Red Sox can make a game drag without any help from the opposing pitcher.

That's one area where Arrieta can improve (just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?). He also needs to become more of a strike-thrower. He's walked 46 and fanned 44 this year.

Down on the farm, Rhyne Hughes had an RBI single for Triple-A Norfolk.

What the heck happened to that guy?

Wasn't he sort of a big deal this spring? Or am I getting my seasons confused?

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