Simmons might not be back until September

Simmons might not be back until September

ATLANTA -- Andrelton Simmons had the cast removed from his right hand on Friday and his fractured pinkie finger put in a removable splint. But it could be the beginning of September before the slick-fielding rookie shortstop returns to the Braves' lineup.

"It's not 100-percent healed yet," Simmons told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I think it's going to be closer to eight weeks than six weeks," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "At the best it would be the last week of August."

Simmons was hurt on a headfirst slide in Philadelphia on July 9, as he hustled a single into a double. The 22-year-old native of Curacao was hitting .296 in 33 games and had solidified the Braves' infield defense.

But general manager Frank Wren was able to obtain Paul Janish in a trade from Cincinnati, and that has been able to cushion the loss of Simmons. Janish has been able to provide more than expected offensively, and he has rivaled Simmons in the field.

With his cast off, Simmons will be able to begin light physical therapy. But it will be a while before he is cleared for any baseball activity. Then a Minor League rehab assignment will follow.