PDT Sports Writer
The Cincinnati Reds were already sending a league-high four players to Tuesday’s All-Star game. On Sunday, they found out they would be sending one more.
During the second inning of the Reds’ game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, it was announced that starting pitcher Alfredo Simon would be added to the National League All-Star roster.
“I’m really happy today. I thank God that I’m pitching,” Simon said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Simon’s selection highlights a remarkable turnaround for the Dominican pitcher, who was picked up by the Reds on a few days before Opening Day in 2012 after he had been released by Baltimore. After two seasons in the bullpen, Simon was moved into the starting rotation at the beginning of the season due to an injury to Mat Latos.
“I couldn’t be more excited for him,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of the selection. “I don’t think there’s a more deserving guy.”
After pitching more than well enough to keep his spot when Latos returned, Simon has posted an ERA of 2.70 in 18 starts. Simon is also leading the majors in wins this season with 12, along with fellow All-Stars Adam Wainwright and Masashiro Tanaka.
Though Simon was left off the National League squad when the roster was announced on July 6, the MLB restricts pitchers from appearing in the game if they start the game before the All-Star break. After teammate Johnny Cueto went six innings and got the victory against the Pirates on Sunday, the league announced that Simon would take his spot.
“I’m very proud of him,” said catcher and fellow All-Star Devin Mesoraco. “He goes about his business the right way and does a great job for us. It was really a no-brainer.”
TV cameras caught teammates mobbing Simon in the dugout as the announcement was made throughout the stadium.
“My teammates are happy for me,” Simon said. “I had been waiting and waiting to see what was going to happen today. They picked me, and it was really cool.”
The Giants’ Tim Hudson, the Padres’ Huston Street and the Nationals’ Tyler Clippard were also named to the National League roster to take the place of ineligible pitchers. The 85th All-Star Game will take place Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Minneapolis’ Target Field.
Alex Hider can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter