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.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.