Teammates congratulated Alfredo Simon in the dugout Sunday afternoon when he was named to the NL All-Star team.
Alfredo Simon gets a standing ovation as he walks to the dugout after being taken out in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs.
Al Behrman / AP Photo
By Kevin Goheen
CINCINNATI -- Alfredo Simon was getting plenty of hugs and congratulatory handshakes in the Reds dugout Sunday afternoon. He wasn't playing against Pittsburgh but the attention he was getting was well deserved.
Simon was notified Sunday afternoon that he had been named to the National League All-Star team as a replacement player. Four NL pitchers, including Johnny Cueto of the Reds, started games Sunday, making them unavailable to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star game in Minneapolis. Simon, 33, will be making his first All-Star game appearance.
"It's big for me," said Simon.
Simon has been big for the Reds. He has gone 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA and a WHIP of 1.046 in 18 starts this season. He is tied with Adam Wainwright of St. Louis for the most wins in the NL. His ERA is seventh-best in the league and his 2.37 ERA on the road is No. 4 in the NL. He’s also fifth in the NL with an opponent's batting average of .219.
Not too bad for a guy who was supposed to be a stop-gap measure at the start of training camp for a rotation that was without an injured Mat Latos.
Simon wasn't among the original All-Stars when the team was announced last Sunday. He will be replacing Cueto on the roster but he doesn’t feel like just a replacement.
"They didn't pick me the first time and I just think about how I deserved to be there because I just do a great job this year," said Simon. "I just wait and see what happens. I know that a lot of the guys at the All-Star game, they were pitching Sunday and that would be my opportunity. I'm in."
Cueto would've been a possible choice to start the game for the NL if he had been available but now he's going to enjoy the festivities from the bench and watch Simon.
"I'm really happy because I think he has all of the numbers and all of the credit to be there as a starter," said Cueto through interpreter Tomas Vera. "I'm really happy because it's another partner, another one from our team that is going to be there with us."
Simon joins four other Reds on the NL team – Cueto, reliever Aroldis Chapman, catcher Devin Mesoraco and third baseman Todd Frazier. This is the fifth straight year the Reds have sent at least three players to the All-Star game and the first time since 1991 that they will have five All-Stars. That season the defending World Series champions sent pitchers Tom Browning and Rob Dibble as well as infielders Chris Sabo and Barry Larkin and outfielder Paul O'Neill.