PHILADELPHIA – Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said there’s a good chance that shortstop Andrelton Simmons will return to the lineup on Sunday. And yes, he’s been saying that for a few days now.
Simmons has missed four games since straining his left (non-throwing) shoulder while making a diving defensive play Monday at Miami.
“Bubba [head trainer Jeff Porter] wants to give him one more day,” Gonzalez said after posting a Simmons-less lineup Saturday. “But [Porter] was encouraged. He told me the rotator cuff is not firing just yet, and if he dives again and that’s not firing, he couldn’t protect [the shoulder]. It’s getting close, but he wants to give it one more day.”
The Braves are off Monday, and Gonzalez said he wants to see Simmons play Sunday and see where he’s at. Simmons was out nearly two months with a broken right hand, and has missed five of 11 games since returning from the disabled list, including one game (Sept. 12) after turning an ankle.
There are 10 games left on their schedule, which Gonzalez thinks is sufficient time for Simmons to get his overall game back up to speed.
“I would like to see him play [Sunday], then we have Monday off and see where we’re at after that,” he said.
Versatile left fielder Martin Prado has filled in at shortstop for the Braves, who lost backup shortstop Paul Janish to a dislocated his left shoulder Tuesday. It’s uncertain if Janish will play again this season even if the Braves advance deep into the postseason.
“There’s an outside chance that in 2-1/2 to three weeks we may get him back,” Gonzalez said Saturday.
Tommy Hanson will stay in the the rotation and make his next scheduled turn Thursday against Miami, Gonzalez said. The right-hander gave up three homers and five runs in Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Phillies, and he is 0-4 with a 5.06 ERA in his past seven starts…. The Braves have no plans to start Ben Sheets, Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran in the last 10 games of the season, but Gonzalez said that could change if they decide to give Tim Hudson some rest and possibly skip his last start before the postseason. Sheets, Delgado and Teheran have all been in the Braves bullpen this month, but none have made a relief appearance. Third baseman Chipper Jones will probably have a rest day Sunday, and catcher Brian McCann might also.