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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons injures ankle, but Anthony Rendon is back Tuesday

Angels' Andrelton Simmons is helped up after injuring an ankle in May 2019. He also injured an ankle Monday.
Angels’ Andrelton Simmons is helped up after injuring an ankle in May 2019. He also injured an ankle Monday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons twisted his left ankle on an infield single in Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics. The severity of the injury will not be known until a team doctor examines Simmons’ foot Tuesday.

But, in some good news for the team, the Angels expect Anthony Rendon, who first hurt an oblique muscle July 15, to make his Angels debut in Tuesday’s home opener against the Seattle Mariners.

Simmons took a long stride to beat out a groundball in the ninth inning. His left foot landed on the back of the bag and he fell into the dirt, got up and walked around in an attempt to shake off the pain. He left the game with an arm around a team trainer.

This isn’t the first time Simmons has injured his ankle trying to leg out a groundball. He did the same thing in May last season. On a one-out groundball to first base, he burst out of the right-handed batter’s box and tried to earn a single. But in lunging and overextending his stride, Simmons hit the front of the base with his left foot. He tripped and turned his ankle inward.

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Monday’s scene was eerily similar.

“You should run through the bag at the front edge of the bag always,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the quickest route. Sometimes guys feel that you could jump and be quicker, which is not true. And also, beyond an ankle roll, believe me, from personal experience, the hamstrings pop too. So the teaching point is just hit the front edge of the bag, almost lean into it like a track runner. And that’s your best method.”

The Angels have seemingly kept the coronavirus at arm’s length with manager Joe Maddon emphasizing “being the best teammate you’ve ever been.”

Simmons is a famously fast healer. He returned from last year’s injury in five weeks, although he acknowledged not being at 100%. The year before that, he twisted his ankle in June 2018 coming down dugout steps before a game and missed only 10 days.

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Maddon said infielder Luis Rengifo is “very close, if not ready” to replace Simmons on the active roster should the need arise. Rengifo missed a few weeks of training camp for undisclosed reasons, then dealt with hamstring tightness. Coaches assigned to work with reserve players at the Angels’ alternate site at Long Beach State told general manager Billy Eppler that Rengifo hadn’t appeared limited by the ailment in recent days.

Simmons’ injury was far from the only issue the Angels encountered during their season-opening series against the Athletics, from which they emerged with a 1-3 record. Without free-agent acquisition Rendon in the lineup, the team batted a collective .224 (31-for-138) with 30 strikeouts. Over four games, the Angels stranded 30 on base and went five for 29 with runners in scoring position. They were only outscored by three runs, 14-11, during the series.

Still, the team’s vexation seemed to boil over in the final moments Monday when Mike Trout was called out on strikes with two runners on base to end the game. Trout threw his hand up and started arguing with home plate umpire Adam Hamari. Oakland reliever Joakim Soria’s final pitch appeared on MLB’s pitching-tracking software to catch the top edge of the zone.

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Trout and Shohei Ohtani, who appeared as a hitter in a game after pitching for the first time in his MLB career, each struck out three times.

“The frustration was pent up because of check swings,” Maddon said. “I don’t know. Maybe by the end of the [game], it evened out a little bit. But does it really even out? Depends on the magnitude of the moment in the game.

“That pitch there we thought was high. I don’t know what it showed in the [pitch-tracking] box, which sometimes is not accurate. But of course there was frustration. The guys are playing hard. We care. You got the right guy up in the situation, and to get called out like that on a pitch that was questionable, it is bothersome.”


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