CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) Detroit pitcher Alfredo Simon showed off his slowest stuff in another sharp outing.
Simon tossed three scoreless innings, Daniel Fields, J.D. Martinez and Steven Moya hit homers and the Detroit Tigers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 on Tuesday.
Simon, an All-Star with Cincinnati last year, was acquired in an offseason trade to bolster a rotation that lost Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. He gave up two hits and struck out two and hasn’t allowed a run in five innings this spring.
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Simon’s highlight pitch was one he calls a slow split to Freddy Galvis in the second inning. Simon uses the low-speed pitch occasionally and says it registers between 57-60 mph.
”I don’t use that pitch a lot but when I get in trouble with a hitter, I try to change his eyes,” Simon said. ”I just try to play with the hitter. My mechanics are the same so they think I’m throwing a fastball 94-95, so it’s not easy to hit. They don’t know that it’s coming.”
Simon also uses it to set up other pitches and keep hitters off balance.
”When you throw a ball that slow, it’s difficult to hit and then when you throw a two-seamer down, it’ll be harder to hit. Last year I used to throw it, and I was successful with it.”
Fields ripped an opposite-field, two-run shot over the bullpen onto the walkway beyond the wall in left-center in the second inning off Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Martinez and Moya connected for solo shots off Sean O’Sullivan in the sixth. After Ian Kinsler tripled in the third, Jose Iglesias hit an RBI ground-rule double off Gonzalez’s knee.
The Phillies managed just five hits.
”We had a lot of fly-ball outs,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. ”We need to hit the ball on the ground, get better at-bats.”
Tigers: Simon needed 56 pitches to get through three innings. ”I felt real good, and all my pitches were working,” he said.
Phillies: Righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez left in the third inning Iglesias hit a liner off his right knee. Gonzalez, who is competing for spot in the starting rotation, allowed three runs and five hits in two-plus innings. He said he felt better afterward.
”I’m working on things. It’s not like I’m trying to dominate hitters down here,” Gonzalez said through an interpreter. ”I know I’ve had location issues last year. I’m working on that. I feel it’s getting better.
Phillies: Lefty Cliff Lee will try to pitch through an elbow injury instead of having season-ending surgery to repair a tear in his common flexor tendon. Lee was limited to 13 starts last year because of the injury and rehabbed throughout the offseason only to feel pain after pitching two scoreless innings last Thursday.
”It’s not a good sign, obviously,” Lee said. ”If it continues to be a problem then I’m going to have to get it fixed.”
Phillies catcher John Hester is expected to miss at least six weeks after he had surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. Phillies righty Chad Billingsley threw to hitters for the first time since returning from Tommy John surgery.
”It accomplished what I wanted to, seeing a hitter in there,” Billingsley said. ”It’s another step, progress in getting back. I’m healthy, so it’s good. I threw some good pitches, so it’s progressing.”
Tigers: LHP David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, makes his second start vs. Washington. Price tossed two scoreless innings in his first appearance.
Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels faces Pittsburgh in his second start. Hamels threw two scoreless innings his first time out.