LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons has missed three games with a sore left side, which the Braves are treating with caution to prevent a lingering injury.
“It’s nothing big, that’s why he hasn’t played in a couple of days,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re trying to not let something small become big, which can happen with those obliques. He doesn’t need to show us anymore what he can do defensively. He’s pretty solid.”
Simmons has been in a spring-training competition with fellow rookie Tyler Pastornicky for the starting shortstop job, which was thought to be Pastornicky’s to lose entering camp. Pastornicky struggled for the first two weeks of Grapefruit League games but has improved recently at the plate and in the field.
Simmons has no experience above Class A, but is a superb fielder who possesses what many believe would be the best arm of any National League position player.
Gonzalez plans to announce his starting shortstop Sunday or Monday. The other of the two will be sent to the minors.
Pastornicky is 8-for-22 in his past seven games, after going 8-for-43 in his first 15 games. He’s hit .215 with .248 on-base percentage.
Simmons, meanwhile, has cooled since the first week of the exhibition schedule. He had three hits including a triple in his first seven at-bats, but is 5-for-36 since to drop his average to .186 with a .233 OBP.