Improvement, but another loss for Simon

Improvement, but another loss for Simon

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Alfredo Simon pitched a little better on Saturday night than he has in recent outings, surrendering three runs in four-plus innings in a 5-1 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.

"There's a lot of pitches that were pulled off the outside corner to right-handed hitters, and it was primarily a right-handed-hitting lineup," manager Bryan Price said. "He fought through for a better second inning [after giving up a homer in the first], fought through and kind of battled his way through multiple innings."

Since his season debut, Simon has been bothered by tendinitis in his right biceps, an injury that led to the shortest start of his career -- two-thirds of an inning on April 13 against the Cubs -- which was followed two days later by his first relief appearance since 2013.

Simon needed 98 pitches to get through his four-plus innings against the Pirates. He has now not been able to go five innings in three of his four starts this season, and he went only five in the other. He has a 13.50 ERA.

"We need him to turn the corner as a starter," Price stated. "This is a guy that we know is capable of being that guy for a young staff, a guy [who] is an innings workhorse, and he's got to be able to do those types of things. Tonight he was not real sharp, but he battled. I have to give him credit for the fact that he battled."

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.