Simon's starting success gets All-Star nod
CINCINNATI -- Alfredo Simon is heading to Minneapolis as an All-Star.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who was made Cincinnati's fifth starter as Mat Latos recovered from offseason right elbow and left knee surgeries, pitched so well he remained in the rotation. He is tied for the Major League lead in wins (12) with Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees, Rick Porcello of the Tigers, and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.
Simon, selected as an All-Star for the first time in his seven-year career, has also posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 18 starts this season.
The righty was added to the National League All-Star roster because teammate and fellow All-Star Johnny Cueto started against the Pirates on Sunday and elected not to pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
According to the "Sunday Pitcher Rule" of the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, a pitcher who starts on the Sunday before the All-Star Game may elect not to participate and, if he does, would be limited to one inning and may set a pitch limit.
"I'm really happy," Simon said. "I've never been in the All-Star Game and they've given me the opportunity this year and I deserve to be there. ... I was in the bullpen and I had surgery in 2009 and then came back and this year became a starter -- and to make the All-Star Game is huge for me."
Reds manager Bryan Price informed Simon that he had been selected while the team was in the dugout during Sunday's 6-3 win over Pittsburgh. His teammates were all excited for him -- especially the man he would be replacing on the active roster.
"Everybody was jumping off the bench and everybody was congratulating him," Cueto said through translator Tomas Vera. "I'm really happy because I think he has all the numbers and all the credit to be there. I'm really happy that we have another partner from our team that's going to be there for us."
Simon's selection to the NL squad means that five players will represent the Reds at the All-Star Game for the first time since 1991 (Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Paul O'Neill, Tom Browning and Rob Dibble). He joins Cueto, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Aroldis Chapman.
"I couldn't be more excited, I don't think there's a more deserving guy," Price said. "Of those that were omitted, to have 12 wins at the break -- I think he had 11 before everything was final with the voting and the roster construction there -- he pitches a lot of innings, doesn't walk anybody, has a low WHIP, and is as deserving as anybody on that club to be there."