Alfredo Simon closing, but not for long

Updated: May 3, 2010, 5:16 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
One could have given Baltimore Orioles fans (and players, really) 10 guesses as to whom the team's closer would be on the first of May, and I doubt anyone would have guessed Alfredo Simon. I mean, I wouldn't have guessed him. A minor league journeyman, Simon is no longer a prospect, wasn't groomed to close and had Tommy John surgery last year. This is a prime example of a closer coming from, figuratively, nowhere.

So what happened in Baltimore? First, new acquisition Mike Gonzalez, the obvious closer, got hurt. Ground baller Jim Johnson, who saved 10 games last season after George Sherrill was traded, didn't pitch well and got demoted to Triple-A. Potential closer Koji Uehara, extricated from the rotation, got hurt. Hard-throwing prospect Kam Mickolio didn't get much of a chance and preceded Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk. Who's left? Cla Meredith and Matt Albers are still Orioles, but Simon, by virtue of a few decent weeks in Triple-A, vaulted everyone. He's the closer. The two saves on his ledger say so.