There’s still no official timeline on Andrelton Simmons’ return from his latest ankle injury, but the Angels shortstop said Thursday that his injury isn’t as bad as the ankle issue that cost him more than a month of his 2019 season, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. The slick-fielding shortstop hasn’t undergone an MRI to this point and noted that his range of motion is already improving.
Simmons had two separate IL stints for problems in the same ankle last year and limped to a .264/.309/.364 slash line in 424 plate appearances. However, his 2017-18 numbers with the Angels had seemed to indicate an upward trajectory with the bat: .285/.334/.419 in 304 games. A strong 2020 output might cause teams to view the 2019 season as an outlier for Simmons, a free agent this winter, but the recurrence of ankle troubles shortens his window to perform and serves as a red flag for interested clubs. Obviously, it’s also a critical loss for an Angels club that spent significantly this winter and hopes to return to the the postseason in this year’s expanded format. Simmons is among this generation’s most gifted defenders and leads all MLB players, regardless of position, with 192 Defensive Runs Saved since his 2012 debut. (Kevin Kiermaier is second … at 115.)
Some more injury updates from around the game…
- Jake Odorizzi threw a bullpen session Thursday and feels that his lower back strain has healed, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. However, the right-hander will still face some live hitters at the Twins’ alternate training site over in St. Paul before he’s activated from the injured list. Odorizzi tabbed Monday as a potential date to face hitters. Right-hander Randy Dobnak could get another start as Odorizzi finalizes his rehab. The 30-year-old Odorizzi enjoyed a career year with the Twins in ’19, pitching to a 3.51 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 0.91 HR/9 in 159 innings. He accepted a one-year, $17.2M qualifying offer last November and will be a free agent again this winter.
- Clayton Kershaw could join the Dodgers’ rotation as soon as Sunday or Monday, manager Dave Roberts told reporters Thursday evening (link via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). The three-time Cy Young winner and five-time NL ERA leader was scratched from his Opening Day start just hours before first pitch due to back tightness and replaced by rookie Dustin May. Since Kershaw hit the IL, the Dodgers have also lost Alex Wood, prompting them to bring up another young right-hander, Tony Gonsolin, to take the ball in tonight’s game. Kershaw tossed a bullpen session Thursday, and all indications right now are that his IL stint will be rather brief.
- The Reds announced Thursday that they’ve reversed their option on right-handed reliever Matt Bowman and instead placed him on the 10-day injured list due to an elbow sprain. That’s both an ominous diagnosis for the 29-year-old Bowman and important distinction with regard to service time. Because Bowman was determined to have an injury that existed prior to being optioned to alternate camp, he’s been brought back up and placed on the Major League injured list, where he’ll receive MLB service time and MLB pay. The Reds didn’t offer a potential timeline for Bowman, who tossed 32 frames for them a year ago and recorded a solid 3.66 ERA with 25 strikeouts against 13 walks (three intentional) with just two homers allowed.