Shortstop Andrelton Simmons is confident the left ankle sprain that has sidelined him for most of this month is behind him.
So are the Angels, who reinstated him from the injured list Friday and put him in the lineup for the series opener against the Houston Astros. Shortstop Wilfredo Tovar was designated for assignment to make room for Simmons on the roster.
“I maximized the time I had down to rest instead of trying to move around on it,” Simmons said. “I rested a lot, and it feels a lot better now.”
Simmons missed time earlier in the season because of a Grade 3 sprain of the same ankle. He was expected to be out longer than the five weeks he ended up missing. He wound up hurting that ankle again after hitting in the cages during an early August trip to Cleveland.
Simmons does not think he came back too early from the first injury. That severe sprain, suffered when Simmons lunged to reach first base on a groundout May 19, was to the outside of the ankle. The latest injury, diagnosed as a bone bruise and an ankle sprain, was to the inside.
“I wouldn’t do it any different,” Simmons said. “It’s unfortunate that I got hurt again, but it is what it is. Things happen.”
Simmons was hitting .230 in 28 games when he landed on the injured list the second time. Despite his lack of production, getting Simmons back should be a boon for an offense that has sputtered since the final week of July.
The Angels did not respond well to losing Simmons’ struggling bat. They hit .238 from Aug. 3 to Aug. 21. During that nearly three-week span, they performed 6% below the league average. They also fell precipitously out of the postseason chase.
Adell to fall league
Top prospect Jo Adell will not be done playing in September when the minor league season ends. He will head to the Arizona Fall League.
Adell, 20, was the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Ballard High in Louisville, Ky. He has risen quickly through the farm system, and is now just a step away from playing in the outfield alongside Mike Trout. He might even be closer to making his debut if a sprained right ankle and strained left hamstring hadn’t sidelined him for 10 weeks to start the season.
The layoff didn’t slow Adell at the plate. He hit .308 with a .944 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, eight homers and 15 doubles in 43 games for double-A Mobile. About a month after playing in the Futures Game on July 7, he was promoted to triple-A Salt Lake. Although his bat has cooled at that level, where he is hitting .241 with a .619 OPS, he remains on track to make the leap to MLB sometime next season.
The Arizona Fall League is considered a finishing school of sorts for prospects. Teams usually send their top minor leaguers there, so the level of play is elite. Facing that competition, as well as furthering his development at the corner outfield positions, should help Adell as he tries to ascend to the major leagues.
The fall league runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 26, about a month ahead of the schedule it previously kept. Adell and any other Angels minor leaguers selected for the league will join with prospects from the Cubs, Indians, Tigers and Athletics to play for the Mesa Solar Sox.
Reliever Keynan Middleton might be one outing away from rejoining the Angels active roster. The right-hander, who has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, was scheduled to pitch at Salt Lake on Friday night.
Catcher Kevan Smith, who has been out because of back spams for nearly two weeks, is expected to be reinstated from the injured list soon, too.
But it doesn’t seem as though reliever Justin Anderson, on the injured list since Aug. 12, is any closer to shaking the strain in his right upper trapezius muscle. Manager Brad Ausmus said the 26-year-old, who has a 5.01 ERA in 47 appearances, has not begun throwing.