Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons was hitting .296 and playing great defense when he broke his finger sliding into second base on July 8, but it sounds like the Braves will have him back for the stretch run.
In fact barring a setback while rehabbing in the minors Simmons is on track to return as soon as this weekend, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
In his absence the Braves acquired Paul Janish from the Reds and turned to him as their primary shortstop, but he’s hit just .191 in 49 games and there’s no doubt that once healthy Simmons will reclaim his starting job.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.