Simmons starts Rookie League rehab stint

June 19th, 2019

TORONTO -- Angels shortstop , on the injured list since May 20 with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain, is nearing a return, as he began a rehab assignment with Rookie League Orem on Tuesday night. He played five innings at shortstop and went 2-for-2 at the plate.

Simmons is ahead of schedule, as the recovery time from a Grade 3 ankle sprain is generally 8-to-12 weeks, but he’s already playing in games four weeks after sustaining the injury. The Angels and Simmons never gave an official timetable for his return, but he’s again proving to be a quick healer.

Simmons is playing at Rookie-level Orem because the club’s other affiliates begin their All-Star breaks on Wednesday. He could return to the lineup as soon as Friday when the Angels face the Cardinals in St. Louis.

“He’ll play in a couple [games] at least to start with,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ll reevaluate from there.”

The return of Simmons would give the Angels a full-strength lineup for the first time this season, as left fielder Justin Upton returned on Monday after missing nearly three months with left turf toe. Zack Cozart is the club’s only position player on the injured list, and he’s struggled offensively this season.

“That’s big,” center fielder Mike Trout said. “Hopefully in the next few days we get Simba back and have that whole lineup we were hoping for Opening Day. But injuries are part of the game.”

When Simmons returns, the Angels will have to decide whether to option rookie Luis Rengifo to Triple-A Salt Lake or designate infielder Wilfredo Tovar for assignment. Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher have both emerged as everyday infielders, so the Angels would have to weigh whether it makes sense to have Rengifo serve as a backup in the Majors or play every day at Triple-A. But Ausmus made it sound like the organization would rather have Rengifo develop at Triple-A once Simmons returns.

“I wouldn’t say him sitting would be a benefit to anybody,” Ausmus said.

Upton doesn't start, pinch-hits

Upton was held out of the starting lineup for Tuesday's 3-1 win after going 2-for-4 with a homer in his season debut on Monday. Ausmus said pregame that it was a planned day off, but Upton entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He struck out in his only at-bat of the night and is expected to be in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

"Possible DH on Thursday," Ausmus said. "In St. Louis, hopefully the reins are off and he plays three games.”

Release waivers requested on Allen

The Angels requested unconditional release waivers on veteran reliever Cody Allen on Tuesday. Allen was designated for assignment on Saturday after allowing four runs against the Rays on Friday.

Allen, 30, struggled with the Angels, posting a 6.26 ERA with 29 strikeouts, 20 walks and nine homers allowed in 23 innings. He was signed to a one-year deal worth $8.5 million in the offseason. The Angels are on the hook for the remaining amount of his contract.