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Braves exercising caution with reliever Simmons

Out since July 24, righty feels better, but won't throw for at least another week

ATLANTA -- While the Braves would certainly like to put a healthy and productive Shae Simmons back in their bullpen before the end of the season, they also understand the need to be cautious with the right-handed reliever, who has been sidelined since July 24 with a right shoulder strain.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Simmons will not attempt to begin throwing again for at least another week. The 23-year-old has been shut down since Aug. 20, which is when he arrived for his third rehab appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett with what he described as an "extremely sore" shoulder.

Nearly two weeks later, Simmons feels better. But he realizes that he will not know how much his shoulder has improved until he begins throwing off a mound again.

"My arm feels good, my shoulder, forearm and everything," Simmons said. "Everything feels good, just a little pressure in the same spot. But it isn't anything that is terrible. So I should be back sooner rather than later, I hope."

Given that he experienced a setback approximately one month after going on the disabled list, Simmons realizes he might be required to rest longer before making his next comeback attempt. With this in mind and four weeks remaining in the regular season, he understands there is a chance he will not pitch again this year.

"[Braves trainer Jeff Porter] told me before all of this started, 'With this scenario, most of the time it could be four weeks, but it could take up to six weeks of rest,'" Simmons said. "Now, I guess I'll have to go with the six weeks instead of the four weeks. … I guess it's better to get it taken care of now than to wait and then go into the offseason and it not be any better. Then I'd just come in next year and it would probably be the same scenario."

After making his Major League debut May 31, Simmons produced a 0.96 ERA and limited opponents to a .239 on-base percentage in his first 20 appearances. But he then created reason for concern as he produced a 15.00 ERA and allowed opponents to reach at a .529 clip during the six appearances that followed, leading up to his current disabled list stint.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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