MILWAUKEE -- For the first time in two months, rookie Andrelton Simmons was in the lineup, batting eighth and playing shortstop on Monday.
Simmons missed nearly 60 games after breaking his right pinkie finger sliding headfirst into second base on July 8. After sitting all that time, he will jump back in as the Braves are on a roll and in the middle of the playoff race.
"Now is the time," Simmons said. "Now it's go time. This is where you want to be. You want to be in the race in September. And I'm excited."
In 33 games before the injury, Simmons hit .296 with three home runs and 15 RBIs, while also playing good defense at shortstop.
He had been swinging a hot bat during a Minor League rehab assignment last week, batting .320 with two doubles, two home runs and three RBIs over six games between three stops.
Simmons spent much of his time off taking in knowledge from veteran players, information that he might otherwise have overlooked while playing.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez pointed out the contributions of Paul Janish over the last two months, which helped keep the Braves rolling without Simmons.
"I can't tell you how much we appreciate Janish," Gonzalez said. "For those games that Simmons was gone, Paul Janish saved [us]. And kudos to our professional scouts and front office to go out and get a guy like him."