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Tigers' Simon roughed up but vows to be ready

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Alfredo Simon picks up his target during the first inning Wednesday.

Lakeland, Fla. -- Alfredo Simon has had and will have better days.

An allergy attack kept him up most of the night Tuesday and had his body feeling worn down when he took the mound against the Marlins Wednesday.

"I gave up a couple of hits, got my fastball up, my cutter up, but everything is good," said Simon after he was touched for four runs and eight hits in 4.2 innings. "I have two more starts in spring training and I am still working on things. I will be ready for the start of the season."

He was hit hard for the second straight start. Four of the eight hits against him Wednesday were extra-base hits, including a long home run by Donovan Solano and a triple to center by Jordany Valdespin.

"He was up in the zone again today," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's a big man, and a lot of times, when you have long limbs like that, it's a little tough to finish your pitches. You end up, up in the zone. And that was the issue today. I'm not worried about it."

Simon has one of the hardest average fastball velocities in baseball, 95 mph, but he barely touched 93 against the Marlins and quickly abandoned the fastball. He blamed it on the allergies. Ausmus blamed it on the time of year.

"There's no adrenaline for a guy like that who's been in the league five-plus years," he said. "We have other guys like that. Joba (Chamberlain) is a lot firmer when he gets adrenaline flowing."

Simon has now given up 10 runs in his last 7.2 innings.

"I am not worried about him, I just hope his next outing he's down (in the zone) more," Ausmus said. "I still go on a player's track record more than spring training performance."

Short hops

Shortstop Jose Iglesias, who came into the game Wednesday with two hits in 30 at-bats, rapped a clean single to right in the first inning. He was, Ausmus said, due. "When you have struck out only twice in 30 at-bats, there is some back luck involved," he said. "If you are putting the ball in play that much and not getting hits, bad luck is involved. He is not a .100 hitter."

... Iglesias was expected to start as shortstop for the third straight game Thursday and then on Friday, Ausmus said he will send him to the back fields on Friday to get extra swings in the minor league games.

... Tigers relievers Joe Nathan and Bruce Rondon threw scoreless innings and looked sharp. Nathan's fastball hit 95 and Rondon's, according to the stadium radar gun, 101. Chamberlain also threw a scoreless inning.