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No surgery for Angels' Andrelton Simmons, who is 'hoping for a miracle'

No surgery for Angels' Andrelton Simmons, who is 'hoping for a miracle'
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons looks for the call as the Minnesota Twins' Jorge Polanco steals second base in the first inning on May 14 in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

A visit with a foot and ankle specialist Wednesday gave the Angels’ a best-case scenario for their Gold Glove shortstop: Andrelton Simmons will not require surgery on his left ankle, which suffered a grade 3 sprain when he tried to leg out an infield single earlier this week.

Simmons said he still did not have a timetable for when his ankle would heal, but he reiterated confidence in being able to return quickly from the injured list.

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“It’s going to be at least a week or two before the swelling goes down, but I’m praying for faster than that,” Simmons said.

Injuries like Simmons’ can take anywhere from six weeks to three months to rehabilitate, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. But until the swelling around the joint recedes, Simmons will be unable to judge how long his ankle might take to heal.

He can take comfort in the knowledge that his body typically bounces back quickly. He hurt his back in early April but missed only one game. Simmons suffered a grade 2 ankle sprain last June when he twisted it coming down the dugout steps before a game. He was placed on the injured list but missed only 10 days.

“I’m not expecting that quick a recovery,” he said, “but I’m hoping for a miracle.”

There’s one upside to Simmons, who is under contract through 2020, missing an extended period.

Downtime has been a boon to Simmons in the past. When he missed nearly a month and a half recovering from a torn thumb ligament in 2016, he spent his extra hours behind a computer. The studying led to an extreme uptick in his offensive production, a trend he was still riding when he went down in a heap in Monday night’s 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Simmons had a .219 batting average and .526 on-base-plus-slugging percentage when he injured his thumb diving for a ground ball May 8, 2016. In the 443 games since his return, he’s batted .290 with a .750 OPS. Only Mike Trout has a better average for the Angels in that span.

Simmons, who was on pace to perhaps become an All-Star for the first time, intends to capitalize on the opportunity again.

“I try to learn stuff in the meantime, really pay attention, watch some video,” Simmons said. “Sometimes, I just go sit in the cage and watch guys work. I still do that now. But sometimes when all you can do is really watch, it kind of helps. Hopefully I can do that again.”

Catcher goes on concussion list

Soon after getting hit in the mask by a foul tip off the bat of former Angels first baseman C.J. Cron on Tuesday night, Angels catcher Kevan Smith was diagnosed with a concussion. He was placed on the seven-day injured list Wednesday. The Angels called up Dustin Garneau, a San Pedro native drafted by the Colorado Rockies out of Cal State Fullerton in the 19th round in 2009, to fill Smith’s spot.

“I live two exits up the freeway [from Angel Stadium],” Garneau said.

Garneau had a .247 average and .957 OPS with seven doubles, six home runs and 13 RBIs in 23 games at triple-A Salt Lake this season.

Heaney nearing return

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The Angels will determine if left-hander Andrew Heaney, who has been recovering from elbow inflammation, will rejoin their starting rotation after he throws his next side session Friday. He could pitch Sunday at Angel Stadium.

“I’ve been feeling good physically and mechanically for weeks now,” Heaney said. “I’ve really been feeling pretty dialed in.”

Felix Pena, who has a 3.30 ERA in 43 2/3 innings and has been sharp since the Angels started using an opener to set up his outings, could be the odd man out of the rotation if Heaney is activated for Sunday’s game. However, the Angels could implement a six-man rotation to accommodate Pena and Heaney.

Ausmus said after Pena’s most recent outing, in which he held the Twins to four hits and one run over five innings, that the Angels were comfortable with his role.

“I don't know there's a need to change that right this second,” he said.

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