Injured Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons is closing in on a return, manager Joe Maddon said Monday (via Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times). Simmons, who landed on the IL on July 28 with a left ankle sprain, has progressed to taking batting practice.
Ankle problems have slowed Simmons since last season, during which the 30-year-old totaled only 103 games played. Simmons’ well-known defensive wizardry continued then, but his offense dropped off a cliff compared to his respectable 2018-19 performance. Still, as Jeff Todd of MLBTR explained, Simmons entered this season as an especially interesting pending free agent. Thanks to the shortened campaign and the time he has already missed, though, Simmons doesn’t have much time to rebuild his stock before a potential trip to the open market.
Since Simmons went down in the first week of the season, the Angels have turned to David Fletcher at short. Fletcher has been highly productive so far, and the Angels surely want his bat in the lineup every day, but he’s versatile enough on the defensive side to move around the diamond. That will give Maddon the freedom to pencil the two in on a daily basis when Simmons is able to return.