Milwaukee – The Braves had to go two months without Andrelton Simmons at shortstop because of his broken right hand, and two games into his return he sprained his right ankle.
Simmons was out of the lineup in Wednesday’s series finale against the Brewers. But the Braves feel like they caught a break because at the end of the game Tuesday night, Braves trainers thought Simmons had a high ankle sprain. Only after he was examined Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park did they determine it was only a minor sprain, and Simmons should be back in the lineup Friday against the Nationals.
“We dodged a bullet,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Ironically, the play happened on a pickoff attempt at second base in the third inning, when Simmons was trying to get back to the base feet first, instead of his natural head-first move. Simmons broke his fifth metacarpal sliding head-first into second base on a hustle double July 8 in Philadelphia.
“I was leaning my front shoulder,” Simmons said. “And I was like ‘No, I can get there feet first’ and just got tangled up.”
While the Braves have encouraged Simmons to slide feet first, they’re OK with head-first moves on quick reaction plays like pickoff attempts and told him so.
Simmons stayed in Tuesday night’s game with the help of adrenaline, but said his ankle started bothering him again late in the game and might have affected him on the groundball Aramis Ramirez beat out for an infield hit, which helped to start a three-run seventh inning.
Simmons woke up Wednesday, feeling “a lot better,” he said, though he couldn’t help but be frustrated to be sitting again.
“You try not to think about it but yeah, I want to be out there,” said Simmons who went 2-for-3 on Tuesday.
Gonzalez said he was thinking about getting Paul Janish into the lineup Wednesday anyway. He was 5-for-8 with two doubles and two RBIs against Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo.
Gonzalez had just told Janish when Simmons returned to the lineup on Monday to be ready, just in case, saying “My young shortstop plays with his hair on fire so be ready. Don’t shut it down. Simmons could go out the first day, try to turn a double to a triple and roll an ankle.”
“Maybe I jinxed him,” Gonzalez said Wednesday.