Simmons tests ankle on field, nearing return

Simmons tests ankle on field, nearing return

ATLANTA -- Just before the Braves began Monday afternoon's batting practice at Turner Field, Andrelton Simmons jogged through the clubhouse, grabbed a pair of spikes and provided clear indication that he was not worried or burdened by the left ankle sprain he suffered last week.

Any lingering concerns the Braves might have had seemed to evaporate as Simmons spent the next hour jogging, fielding ground balls and taking batting practice without any hint of discomfort. Barring an overnight setback, the exciting shortstop will likely return to Atlanta's lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers.

"He's getting close," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If it's not [Tuesday], it will be Wednesday. But at the very least, he is progressing well."

Monday marked the first time Simmons returned to the field since turning his ankle as he stepped on third base while playing defense on Aug. 5 in Seattle. If there was any question about the durability and strength in his ankle, he answered it when he jumped against the outfield wall in an attempt to rob a batting-practice home run.

"They're trying to be careful, but I felt pretty good," Simmons said. "I'm just waiting for them to tell me what to do. I'm ready to go."

When asked if he expects to play on Tuesday, Simmons said, "I expected to be in there today, but I don't make the rules. … It's on them. I'm waiting."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.