Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons was cleared to begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment Monday in the first of three scheduled games over four days. He could return to action for the Braves at the earliest next weekend in New York.
Because the minor league regular season is ending on Monday, Simmons with have to do quite a bit of traveling, playing Monday with Double-A Mississippi in Mobile and then in two playoff games – Wednesday in Single-A Rome and on Thursday in Lynchburg, Va. with the high-A Hillcats.
“Best-case scenario if everything looks good and no setbacks or anything like that is maybe next weekend,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Hopefully next weekend.”
Simmons did some hard running before batting practice Sunday to give his legs a test and took batting practice on the field with the Braves for the second straight day before getting clearance from hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie.
“The doctor wanted to make sure he can get his legs under him and be in shape,” Gonzalez said. “The last thing you want to do is send him to a rehab assignment, his legs are out of shape and he pulls a calf muscle.”
Simmons’ gave his hand a test in the batting cage several days earlier, taking some batting practice in Gwinnett, when he got jammed by a pitch.
“It was fine,” Simmons said. “It just jammed, hurt all the way around. So it didn’t bother the hand (specifically that spot) at all.”
Simmons has used the past few days to get over his tentativeness swinging the bat.
“My first couple rounds (Saturday) I was swinging careful,” Simmons said. “…The last couple rounds, I felt good. I gripped the bat hard. I put good swings and felt normal.”
Simmons has been out since July 8 with a broken bone in his right hand. He was hitting .296 with seven doubles, one triple, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 33 games when he went down.