Potent quotables: Lincecum wants starting nod

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It would mean a lot — the hard
work paid off. If I do happen to start, it will make up for the fact I
didn’t even make it to the field last year.”

– Tim Lincecum, who missed last year’s All-Star game due to illness, would love to start for the National League this year.
He extended his career-best scoreless streak to 23 innings in a 9-0 win
over the Astros on Saturday. The All-Star rosters will be announced
today at 1 p.m. ET.

“Johnny and I have a great
relationship. I’m glad he called and apologized. I’ve always respected
his opinion. But he’s not in here on a day-to-day basis, so he can’t
really know what’s going on.

– David Wright acknowledges John Franco’s apology. The former Mets closer questioned Wright’s leadership in an interview with Sirius XM last week.

“Give the young man a chance. I know
he’s struggled, but let’s give him a chance. He’s done it in the past,
and there’s no reason he can’t get it done now. Let’s not look at this
every at-bat, every game. Let’s sit back and watch this and see what
happens.”

– Lou Pinella has some supportive words for Alfonso Soriano.
Moved to sixth in the batting order, Soriano is hitless over his last
four games to drop his batting average to a season-low .223.

“We just want him right when he comes
back. As long as he feels good, that’s all that matters. It’s hard to
predict. We just gotta wait and see how he’s doing. If that means a
couple of extra days, it’s another couple of days.”

– Ron Washington comments on Josh Hamilton’s rehab.
He is 2-for-20 in a four-game rehab stint and could join the Rangers
this week. The slugger underwent successful surgery on a torn abdominal
muscle on June 9.

“You hate to put labels on guys, but he has a chance to be someone very special.”

– David Eckstein thinks rookie shortstop Everth Cabrera has the goods.
The 22-year-old was 2-for-3 with three RBI, including a go-ahead RBI
single, in a 7-4 win over the Dodgers on Saturday. Cabrera is batting
.306 with eight RBI, four stolen bases and 14 runs scored in his first
62 major-league at bats. He was a Rule 5 selection from the Rockies
organization in December.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”