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Angels cautious with Simmons' stiff back

Chavez appears to have firm grasp on rotation job after scoreless start
Andrelton Simmons is expected to be back in the lineup within a couple of days. (AP) (Matt York/AP)
March 27, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons missed his second straight spring game on Monday due to lower back stiffness, though the Angels do not believe the ailment is serious."He's OK," manager Mike Scioscia said following the Halos' 4-2 win over the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. "He

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons missed his second straight spring game on Monday due to lower back stiffness, though the Angels do not believe the ailment is serious.
"He's OK," manager Mike Scioscia said following the Halos' 4-2 win over the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. "He had a little lower back stiffness, so as a precaution we sat him down yesterday and took it easy today. He says if it's a regular season game he could have played, but we wanted to make sure that he's over it."
Scioscia said Simmons will be evaluated on Tuesday and should be back in the lineup within a couple of days. Simmons returned to camp last week following a three-week hiatus to represent the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. The 27-year-old infielder is 3-for-16 (.188) with two RBIs and three runs scored in six Cactus League games.

Chavez shines vs. D-backs
Right-hander Jesse Chavez likely locked down his spot in the Angels' rotation by firing six shutout innings in his fourth Cactus League start on Monday.
Chavez, whose last two outings were in the Minors, held the D-backs to just three hits while striking out three and walking none in the 73-pitch outing.
"The last extended one of the spring is the one you want to put everything together," said Chavez, who signed a one-year, $5.75 million deal with the Angels over the winter. "We were able to execute both sides of the plate. Early on I was struggling a little with my cutter -- it was a little slider-y I'd say -- but once we got a feel, we were able to get back on track with my two-seamer."
The 33-year-old veteran said the Angels have not officially told him whether he'll be in their starting rotation, but he expects that conversation to take place in the coming days.
Worth noting
• Ricky Nolasco will make a Minor League road start against the Cubs on Tuesday, with Bud Norris pitching concurrently in the Angels' Cactus League game against the A's at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Cam Bedrosian extended his scoreless streak to seven innings this spring by tossing a clean seventh against the D-backs on Monday. Bullpen hopeful Kirby Yates, meanwhile, gave up two runs on three hits in the ninth. Yates' spring ERA has ballooned to 8.71 over his last five outings, jeopardizing his chances of making the club's relief corps.
Jose Campos, who has not pitched since March 5 due to a nerve issue in his right forearm, is slated to resume throwing off the mound this week.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.