Andrelton Simmons hopes to return to major league games in a "couple weeks," he said Friday, which would represent a significant speeding-up of the time the Angels shortstop was slated to miss.
Simmons tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb May 8 and had surgery May 10. His prognosis was six to eight weeks. He believes he can beat that, by a lot.
"I'm hopeful," he said Friday. "I'm always hoping."
The skin on Simmons' thumb is peeling, and there is still soreness stemming from swelling that has enlarged the digit altogether.
"Don't look at it," he said. "It's ugly."
But, he said, the soreness stems mostly from catching, not hitting. He has ripped swings off a tee and hopes to soon take batting practice. The injury occurred while he was at shortstop, attempting to roll off the thumb after fielding a ground ball in the hole.
The Angels knew it was serious immediately. Similar injuries have sidelined major leaguers for longer than eight weeks in recent seasons.
"Every day I go out there and catch, it's better," he said. "But the swelling from the surgery has to completely go down. Hopefully I'll be getting some at-bats soon. It all depends on this hand swelling. It's not as bad as it was."
Simmons was defending wonderfully and hitting poorly when he suffered the injury. In his stead, the Angels have relied on 30-something journeymen Gregorio Petit and Brendan Ryan to play his position, because backup shortstop Cliff Pennington went down with an injury shortly after Simmons.
Pennington will be activated from the disabled list Saturday. Ryan will be designated for assignment to create space on the roster."
Left-hander C.J. Wilson probably will make his second start of 2016 Monday at Salt Lake. He made the first appearance of his rehab assignment Wednesday with Class-A Inland Empire, throwing 56 pitches over four-plus innings. … Right-hander Cory Rasmus, on the disabled list since May 17 with a strained groin, threw a bullpen session Friday. … Catcher Geovany Soto has shown "incredible progress" since his May 19 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Soto's initial prognosis for return was four to six weeks. … Right-handers Tim Lincecum and Huston Street will both pitch in extended spring training games in Arizona on Saturday.