After night off, Simmons returns to starting lineup

After night off, Simmons returns to starting lineup

BOSTON -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned to the Braves' lineup Thursday and batted ninth after sitting out Wednesday night's loss to the Red Sox. He exited in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's game with right ankle inflammation, an issue he's had on and off for a few weeks.

The 24-year-old said he doesn't believe it's a long-term issue at all, and he said it won't be "something that keeps bothering me."

"It was something that would have slowed me down a little bit yesterday," Simmons said. "I feel good right now and I'm ready to go."

Last year, Simmons tied a Major League record for defensive wins above replacement at 5.4 and helped the Braves finish sixth in defensive runs saved. Manager Fredi Gonzalez exhaled a sigh of relief with Simmons back without any major complications.

"Tuesday night, [Evan] Gattis scratched and Simmons comes out of the game," Gonzalez said, "and you're going, 'Oh boy.'"

Gattis went 1-for-4 Wednesday night after straining his wrist during batting practice Tuesday and sitting out that game. He started again Thursday, catching and hitting fifth.

Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.