Simmons given rare start at DH for Braves

Simmons given rare start at DH for Braves

JUPITER, Fla. -- When the Braves took the field for the bottom half of the first inning of Thursday afternoon's game, Andrelton Simmons didn't know what to do.

That's because manager Fredi Gonzalez penciled in the reigning Gold Glove Award winner at designated hitter and batting seventh in the order. Ramiro Pena got the start at short.

"I don't know. I have no idea. I'll try to just watch stuff," said Simmons, who played 156 games at the position in 2013. "I'll try to enjoy it, make the most of it, have a little fun since it is Spring Training."

Simmons said it had been at least two years since he started at DH with Double-A Mississippi.

The 24-year-old, who joked that he would try to hit home runs in his new role, has gone 10-for-35 (.286) with two doubles and four RBIs over 12 games this spring. He went 0-for-2 with a walk, strikeout swinging and flyout to left on Thursday.

"I enjoy playing defense a lot," said Simmons, who will enter his second full big league season. "I take a lot of pride in it whenever I get a chance out there. I'd rather be playing defense, but I guess skip wants me to take the day off [and] give somebody else a chance to play. I'll still get some at-bats, get some work in."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.