Gattis, Simmons leave Braves game with injuries

May 27, 2014 

ATLANTA – Catcher Evan Gattis was scratched from Tuesday’s 6-3 loss at Turner Field to the Boston Red Sox shortly after batting practice. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was replaced by Ramiro Pena in the eight inning.

The Atlanta Braves can’t afford either of these injuries to be long-term.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez, after the game, said both Gattis and Simmons are listed as day-to-day. Gattis suffered a right wrist sprain during batting practice. He was replaced prior to first pitch by Gerald Laird. Simmons left the game with right ankle inflammation.

“He’s available when he’s available,” Gonzalez said about Gattis, because he wasn’t sure of any sort of timetable to deal with the injury. “We don’t see anything long-term. I was throwing BP [batting practice] to him. It was after the third round, he comes out of it and feels a little hot spot. Luckily our hand doctor was here. He took a look at him, and we’re just going to call it day-to-day, for right now.”

Gonzalez couldn’t pinpoint any particular moment in Tuesday’s game when Simmons tweaked his ankle, but did confirm that this issue has plagued the Braves shortstop for some time now.

“Simmons has been a couple of weeks back-and-forth, it’ll feel good one day, the next day it doesn’t," said Gonzalez. "It’s the ankle. He moves around pretty good, he’s pretty active out there. Sometimes he’ll aggravate it and it swells up on him. Hopefully we caught it early enough. I didn’t want to have him in the rest of the game to hurt it, so I took him out of the game to get some treatment, and we’ll check it again tomorrow.”

If the Braves spend any extended time without Gattis or Laird, their already limited offense will suffer.

Laird is a capable replacement behind the plate for Gattis, but he gives up 41 points of batting average and a ton of pop (Gattis has 10 home runs in 128 at-bats, while Laird has zero in 60 at-bats).

As Simmons is a artist at shortstop, the Braves will surely miss his glove. But his bat is 107 points better than Pena’s (Simmons’ likely replacement) too, and Simmons has 13 extra-base hits, compared to just five form Pena.

Sticking Pena at shortstop would also take some versatility away from Atlanta’s bench. Gonzalez treats Pena as his uber-utility man, and has used Pena at second base, shortstop and third base this season. If Pena is forced to spend time at shortstop, Dan Uggla would be the only remaining backup at second base, and there would be no really viable option to back up Chris Johnson at third base.

The Braves will make do if these injuries remain day-to-day. But if either Gattis or Simmons requires a trip to the disabled list, Gonzalez will have some tough decisions to make on how to cope.

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