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OC Register: Andrelton Simmons optimistic he can return to Angels quickly

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ANAHEIM — The Angels are still waiting for an official diagnosis on Andrelton Simmons’ left ankle, although the Gold Glove shortstop reassured Joe Maddon that it’s not that bad.

“I walked out with him (Monday) and you could tell it was bothering him, but he was still very optimistic,” Maddon said before the home opener on Tuesday. “ ‘I’ll be alright. Give me a couple days.’ That kind of conversation. I know from everybody telling me this is historic with him so he probably knows how to deal with it.”

Simmons, who hurt his ankle lunging to try to beat out an infield hit in the ninth inning on Monday, was hurt last year on an almost identical play. Last year he missed five weeks, came back for a few weeks, and then re-injured a different part of his ankle.

In 2018, Simmons slipped in the dugout and sprained his ankle, but he missed just eight games.

While the Angels were waiting to determine if this injury would require a stint on the 10-day injured list, they brought Luis Rengifo up from their depth squad in Long Beach.

The question was whether Rengifo would replace Simmons or someone else, if Simmons could be back in a few days.

Without Simmons in the lineup on Tuesday, David Fletcher moved to shortstop. Anthony Rendon was in the lineup for his Angels debut at third. Rendon had missed the first four games with an oblique issue.

“(Simmons) is a key part of our team,” Fletcher said. “He’s probably the best defensive shortstop, one of the best of all-time, so anytime you lose him, it’s gonna hurt a little bit. Please, let’s get him back soon.”

OHTANI DROPPED IN ORDER

Maddon moved Shohei Ohtani down to the No. 5 spot in the order, behind Justin Upton.

Ohtani had just one hit in his first nine at-bats, including three strikeouts on Monday.

“To this point, he hasn’t swung the bat like he can, and I’d rather protect Rendon with Upton today,” Maddon said.

Ohtani has had a rough start to his season all around, including a disappointing outing on the mound. On Sunday he did not get an out, facing six hitters and allowing five runs.

Ohtani is scheduled to start again Sunday, Aug. 2 against the Houston Astros at home.

Fletcher, who is one of Ohtani’s closest friends on the team, said Ohtani’s attitude is still good.

“He deals with adversity better than anyone I’ve ever met,” Fletcher said. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes out next time and it looks great. His mentality and his attitude are  better than pretty much anyone I’ve ever been around, and the way he deals with the failure and adversity, so I expect good things from him.”

ALSO

The Angels adjusted Julio Teheran’s schedule, moving him back to Thursday for a three-inning outing in an intrasquad game in Long Beach. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway said Teheran could be a candidate to join the rotation after that, because the extra relievers allow them to cover for a starter who can’t go as deep as usual. Teheran is behind the other pitchers because of a bout with COVID-19 just before summer camp opened. …

With the eyes of baseball still watching the situation around the Miami Marlins closely, Fletcher said he doesn’t “think it affects us much right now,” because the Angels have followed the protocols well for avoiding the coronavirus. “We’re just making sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen to us, and kind of just controlling what we can right now,” Fletcher said. …

Brian Goodwin was not in the lineup on Tuesday. He has not started against either of the two left-handed pitchers the Angels have faced in the first five games. Maddon said he has confidence in Goodwin against lefties, but also wants Taylor Ward to get chances. “I really believe in giving young guys opportunity,” Maddon said.

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