The Atlanta Braves were in the midst of yet another topsy-turvy game on Tuesday night, but regardless of what happened on the scoreboard, no one in Braves Country was prepared for this. All-world shortstop Andrelton Simmons was forced to exit the game early for undisclosed reasons, but moments later, the team released an initial diagnosis.
SS Andrelton Simmons left tonight’s game with right ankle inflammation. He is day-to-day.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 28, 2014
The words “day-to-day” have never looked so good, as the 24-year-old shortstop is arguably the most indispensable player on the entire Atlanta roster. Simmons was the recipient of the Platinum Glove award as the best shortstop in Major League Baseball last season, and he is generally regarded by people “in the know” as the best defensive player in all of baseball.
As diehard Braves fans know by now, the impact of Simmons is magnified on the defensive end, simply because of the players who surround him on the diamond. Chris Johnson has serious range issues at third base, and while Dan Uggla is now on the bench more often than not, having Simmons at shortstop would aid any of the trio of second basemen currently being deployed by Fredi Gonzalez on a nightly basis.
For the year, Simmons has struggled a bit offensively, posting just a .286 on-base percentage despite some solid power numbers (.4o7 slugging, 5 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs), but as long as he is anywhere near average offensively, he is incredibly valuable. It remains to be seen when Andrelton Simmons will see the field again, but in the meantime, expect a steady diet of Ramiro Pena at shortstop with Tyler Pastornicky and Dan Uggla seeing a bump in playing time at second base.