Three-time Gold Glove winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned to the Angels’ lineup Friday, batting ninth as the Halos prepared to take on the first-place Oakland Athletics.
Simmons, 30, has been on the injured list since July 28 since spraining his left ankle while awkwardly lunging for first place while beating out an infield single against the A’s on July 27.
As a result, the Angels (8-18) still haven’t featured the left side of the infield they imagined when they signed marquee free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon in the offseason.
The two infielders have yet to play in a regular-season game together as Simmons missed 22 games, with David Fletcher manning shortstop in every inning of those games.
Simmons was off to a slow start at the plate before the injury, batting just .188 (3-for-16) with a double and an RBI.
Fletcher has been playing outstanding shortstop in Simmons’ absence. According to the Fielding Bible, Fletcher is tied for the top spot in MLB among all shortstops, including an amazing play which was voted MLB Play of the Week this week.
But on Friday, Fletcher will lead off and make his first start of the season as the second baseman.
Angels catcher Max Stassi was put on the 10-day injured list in a corresponding move.
Stassi was injured in the second inning Thursday night when a ball was fouled off his right kneecap. He was diagnosed with a right knee bruise and a strain of his right quadricep.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said he thought that Stassi would probably miss at least two weeks. Stassi was batting .244 with four homers, but he hasn’t controlled the running game well — he’s allowed a league-leading 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts this season.
Catchers Jason Castro, who has missed six games with a neck strain, and Anthony Bemboom, who homered Thursday, will handle the catching duties. Jose Briceno is also on the traveling taxi squad and could be activate if the Angels suffer another catching injury on this road trip through Oakland and Houston.