The Angels activated Andrelton Simmons from the injured list before Friday night’s game against the A’s in Oakland, after the shortstop missed 22 games with a left ankle sprain.
The reflexive question to any Angels roster move these days is, “But can he pitch?” which is understandable with an 8-18 record and allowing six or more runs in eight straight games. But while Simmons cannot pitch, his excellent defense at shortstop can help them prevent runs.
David Fletcher filled in admirably at shortstop, playing every inning of all 22 games at the position, and his three defensive runs saved are tied for the top spot at the position in MLB, per the Fielding Bible. Simmons routinely is at or near the top of these lists, so this just means moving Fletcher’s good defense to another position.
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On Friday that means second base for Fletcher, who is hitting .299/.364/.449 on the season. It’s his first start of the season at second base, as prior to filling in for Simmons, Fletcher started the first four games of the season at third in place of Anthony Rendon, who was nursing a sore oblique. One way or the other, Fletcher figures to be an important part of the Angels lineup.
“He’s an everyday player,” manager Joe Maddon said on Aug. 12. “We’ve got to figure out something ... How do we maneuver these guys, where do we play them? But, Fletch plays. Fletch has got to play.”
To make room for Simmons on the roster, catcher Max Stassi was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right quad strain and right knee bruise. He left Thursday’s game in San Francisco in the second inning after taking a foul ball off his knee. X-rays during the game were negative, and he had an MRI Friday morning
“I guess the impact was so much that it strained the tendon right next to the VMO muscle, which is on the inside part of your knee,” Stassi explained. “The impact was so big and came straight on, it actually strained the tendon, which the trainer said that they’ve never really seen that before.”
Maddon said he expected Stassi to miss at least two weeks.
Stassi has been a pleasant surprise at the plate this season, hitting .244/.327/.511 with four home runs. But he’s also allowed an MLB-high 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts this season. No other catcher has permitted more than 13 steals.
The Angels were already carrying three catchers, including Anthony Bemboom, who starts on Friday against Oakland. a Jason Castro has been dealing with neck soreness and has only started once in nine games. Should the Angels need to make another move, they have catcher Jose Briceño on the taxi squad during this road trip that will also take them to Houston for four games.
Time: 6:40 p.m. PT
TV: Fox Sports West