Simmons making progress from ankle injury

Barria optioned to Triple-A; Garneau designated for assignment

June 8th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Angels shortstop said he has been making progress with his Grade 3 ankle sprain sustained on May 20, but that he’s still at least several weeks away from returning.

Simmons, who suffered the injury when his foot got caught at first base as he tried to beat out a grounder for a single, has been taking ground balls, playing catch and hitting in the cages. He’s done some light running in a straight line but has yet to be cleared to make any lateral movements or cuts.

"It's slightly encouraging,” Simmons said. “I've been trying to make improvements every day. Trying to do more stuff, try to keep progressing. Been getting there. Just for myself, I'd want to be there already, but it is what it is."

The injury generally takes 8-12 weeks to heal, so a return shortly after the All-Star break appears to be a best-case scenario for Simmons. But he said he’s yet to hear a real timetable for his return and doesn’t have a target date in mind.

“I don't know, honestly,” Simmons said. “But I'm going to try to progress every day and see how it feels. As soon as I feel like me and the team feels like I'm ready, I'll be out there, honestly. Just trying to get better every day."

Simmons is known as a quick healer, as he suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain last year and returned after missing just 10 games. This sprain is more severe, but it hasn’t stopped Simmons from pestering the training staff about speeding up his timetable.

“I honestly think they hate me,” Simmons said with a laugh. “I just defy anything they say all the time and try to contradict whatever they say. But nah, I try to listen and try to be smart. I do listen to their opinions and try not to rush things. It's been going good."

Angels make roster moves

The Angels made a few roster moves on Friday, as infielder had his contract selected from Triple-A Salt Lake and catcher was activated from the 7-day concussion list. To make room for them on the roster, right-hander Jaime Barria was optioned to Triple-A and catcher was designated for assignment. Barria threw five innings in relief on Thursday.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

Tovar, signed to a Minor League deal before the season, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2014. He went 0-for-2 with two walks in Friday's 6-2 loss against the Mariners. Tovar hit .167 in nine games with the Mets from 2013-14 and had played in Triple-A with three organizations. He was batting .285/.329/.404 with three homers and 35 RBIs in 51 games with Salt Lake.

“I'm obviously very excited about it," Tovar said through an interpreter. "I'm excited for the opportunity, and it has been a couple years, but I'm definitely ready. It does feel like a second debut.”

Smith, meanwhile, had been out since May 21 with a concussion suffered on a foul tip. Garneau played well in his absence, including a walk-off RBI double on Thursday, but he was out of Minor League options, so he was designated for assignment.

“Nowadays we take concussions a lot more seriously than 15 years ago," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "He clearly was rattled when he took that foul tip off the mask. Had a little trouble getting back, but the last three or four days he’s been fine. He passed all the physical tests. He’s been cleared by the doctors, and he’s ready to go.”

Peters to pitch Saturday

Left-hander Dillon Peters was in the Angels’ clubhouse on Friday and will be called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to pitch on Saturday against the Mariners. The Angels are still debating whether they will use an opener before Peters, who had posted a 3.12 ERA over his last five starts with the Bees.

“He’s been pitching really well recently,” Ausmus said. “I talked to [Salt Lake manager] Lou Marson about him. Had one bad outing a few starts ago, but other than that pitched really, really well.”