Braves rookie Andrelton Simmons back from broken finger

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As expected Andrelton Simmons is off the disabled list and in the Braves’ lineup for tonight’s game after the rookie shortstop missed the past two months with a broken pinkie finger.

In his absence the Braves traded for Paul Janish from the Reds and turned to him as their primary shortstop. However, Janish hit just .188 in 53 games and there was never any doubt about Simmons immediately reclaiming the everyday job.

Prior to the July 8 injury Simmons hit .296 with three homers and a .788 OPS in 33 games while playing excellent defense at shortstop, so if healthy his return should provide a huge boost to the Braves down the stretch.

He went 8-for-25 with two homers on a brief minor league rehab assignment.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.