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Simon returns to camp needing to get in work

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reds long reliever Alfredo Simon got to be part of the Dominican Republic's undefeated championship run in this year's World Baseball Classic. But it very well may cost him a roster spot in Cincinnati's bullpen.

Simon made only one three-inning appearance for the Dominicans during the tournament and allowed one run on three hits. Before departing Reds camp, he made two appearances with the last one coming on Feb. 28 when he gave up three runs and six hits vs. the D-backs. Simon needs to make up for some lost time and innings.

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"He's only pitched once in the last 10-12 days," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We can't bump all of these guys for Alfredo to pitch. We want to get him innings. You can't force those innings because you'll end up hurting the guy. We're going to try and get him in some Minor League games."

"You can say he's basically starting over," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty added.

Simon, who has a guaranteed contract worth $890,000 for 2013, is out of Minor League options. But bullpen spots got even scarcer with Friday's news that Aroldis Chapman is returning to the bullpen as the closer. Plus, young reliever J.J. Hoover has come on strong all spring with 14 strikeouts to only one walk in his seven outings, making it tough to send him down. Jose Arredondo has also pitched well and is out of options.

"Most cases, the WBC doesn't hurt guys. In that part, I think it hurt his progress some by not pitching," Baker said of Simon.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }