Andrelton Simmons could begin rehab assignment Tuesday

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Andrelton Simmons has been sidelined since July 8 due to a fractured right pinkie finger, but it looks like he’ll be able to rejoin the Braves for the stretch run.

According to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Simmons was cleared by hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie to begin all baseball activities and could begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Tuesday. Triple-A Gwinnett’s season ends on Monday, so the Braves will likely send him to either High-A Lynchburg or Low-A Rome, who are both headed for the playoffs. Barring any setbacks, the rookie shortstop could be activated by the middle of this month.

Simmons, 22, was batting .296/.336/.452 with three home runs, 15 RBI and a .788 OPS over his first 33 games in the majors prior to the injury. Jack Wilson was released yesterday, which is a sign that the Braves intend to rely on Paul Janish and Simmons at shortstop the rest of the way.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.