A Familiar Face Helped Bring Simon To The Phillies





PHILADELPHIA—Righthander Kyle Simon is loving life as a Phillie.

"I feel more comfortable with the Phillies," the 22-year-old said. "I feel like they have a better plan for me."

A fourth-round pick of the Orioles out of Arizona in 2011, Simon joined the Phillies organization last June (along with catcher Gabriel Lino) in the trade that sent Jim Thome to Baltimore.

At the time of the deal, Simon was struggling as a starter in high Class A. The Phillies immediately moved him to the bullpen, and with excellent results. In 20 appearances for high Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Simon allowed just six earned runs in 40 innings while giving up 22 hits, striking out 35 and walking six.

A lifelong starter, Simon believes relieving is a better fit for his repertoire. The 6-foot-5 sidearmer relies heavily on his sinker and changeup, and his slider is a work in progress. Simon also likes the mentality that comes with bullpen work.

"When I started, my head wasn't always there," he said. "When you're relieving, you're coming into clutch situations and I enjoy that much better because it's grind time. There's no holding back."

With the Phillies, Simon also has been reunited with farm director Joe Jordan, who was the Orioles' scouting director when Simon was drafted. Jordan loves Simon's sinker and says "it hunts ground."

"Joe saw me before and after the draft and I always thought he liked me," Simon said. "When he moved to the Phillies, I was like, 'Dang.' As soon as the trade rumors started, I figured Joe had something to do with it."

Simon worked as a starter in the Arizona Fall League and struggled on his way to allowing 12 runs in 12 innings. He's eager to get back to the bullpen in spring training.

"I'm pretty excited to be with the Phillies and go to work for them next year," he said. "I want to go into camp healthy and strong and make a push to make the Triple-A team."

PHIL-UPS

• The Phillies hired Dave Brundage as manager and Ray Burris as pitching coach for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Brundage managed the Braves' Triple-A club the last six seasons, winning the International League title in 2007.

• Longtime minor league slugger Andy Tracy earned a promotion to minor league hitting coordinator. He retired from playing in 2011 and managed short-season Williamsport in 2012.