The Braves gave two pretty good indications Friday that shortstop Andrelton Simmons is progressing well in his recovery from a broken right hand – he was cleared by hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie to begin all baseball activities – and they released veteran reserve Jack Wilson.
Simmons got a good report after being X-rayed and examined by Braves Lourie Friday, who will re-examined him again Sunday. If all goes well, he will likely head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment beginning Tuesday.
“He’s making real progress,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said before Friday’s game. “We’re encouraged by how he’s progressing.”
Triple-A Gwinnett’s season ends on Monday so the Braves will likely send Simmons either to Single-A Lynchburg or low A Rome, both of whom are headed for the playoffs. The Braves have been targeting a possible mid-September return for Simmons, who is now eight weeks removed from fracturing his fifth metacarpal sliding into second base.
Simmons had spent the past few days playing catch, taking groundballs and taking live batting practice at Gwinnett.
“(I stunk) in bp but feeling good,” Simmons said. “Just waiting for games now. Physically I felt good. It didn’t bother me at all. That’s great news, and the doc said it looked good.”
Paul Janish has started 43 of 46 games in Simmons’ place and leads National League shortstops with a .995 fielding percentage since the All-Star break. Between his play, and Simmons progress, Wilson became expendable. Rather than add Wilson when the rosters expand Saturday from a minor league rehabilitation assignment, they released him.
“As we looked at our roster, we didn’t see a role for Jack,” Wren said. “It made the most sense to go ahead and make a decision now.”
On the one-year anniversary of his trade to Atlanta from Seattle, Wilson said his goodbyes at the Braves clubhouse on Friday afternoon and took the news like “a straight pro,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Wilson has been on the disabled list since July 14 after dislocating his pinky finger. He’d gone 3-for-16 in five games for Gwinnett over the past week. Wilson, 34, hit .169 in 40 games for the Braves overall this season.