ATLANTA -- Andrelton Simmons arrived at Turner Field expecting to play in Saturday night's game against the Cubs. But after informing the Braves medical staff that his right thumb was sore, the shortstop was reminded teams are not going to take any chances with injuries at this early point of the season.
"I feel good enough to go out there," Simmons said. "If it was up to me, I'd put myself in the lineup. They're trying to make the best decision for the team and [for me]. I understand. I didn't expect to be taken out [of the lineup]. Otherwise, I wouldn't have said anything."
Simmons was scratched from the lineup late Saturday afternoon. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he will likely let Simmons rest until at least Monday.
Ramiro Pena will play shortstop and B.J. Upton will bat leadoff in Simmons' absence.
"For me, it's OK if it's just day-to-day," Gonzalez said. "It gives Pena a chance to play a little bit. We always talk about how good our team is. One of our greatest challenges is playing everybody. Now Pena gets to play a little bit."
Simmons injured his thumb as he completed a head-first slide while stealing second base during the third inning of Friday night's win over the Cubs. This injury is nowhere near as serious as the fractured right pinky finger he sustained while sliding head first into second base during a July 8 game in Philadelphia.
After missing two months because of the fracture, Simmons said he would likely continue to slide head first. This latest setback has not altered his mindset.
"It's just how I feel faster," Simmons said. "Maybe I'll put something in my hand that makes it easier sliding. But I doubt I'll just plain stop sliding head first."
Gonzalez said he and his coaches have warned Simmons and other players about the danger of sliding head first.
"We talk about it all of the time," Gonzalez said. "Don't slide head first. Slide feet first and you won't get hurt. But boys are boys."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less