Posted on May 21, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Los Angeles Angels have been no stranger to injuries in recent years. Unfortunately for the Halos, they have another one on their hands. The club placed shortstop Andrelton Simmons on the 10-day Injured List Tuesday after he was diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain. Simmons will see a specialist on Wednesday to better gauge how much time he’ll miss. But based on first glance, the Angels shouldn’t expect to have him back anytime soon.
Simmons hurt the ankle Monday while trying to run out an infield hit against the Twins. He lunged to reach the base in time but his left foot came up just shy hitting the bag, causing his ankle to turn in an unnatural way. Simmons was removed from the game immediately and barely able to put any weight on his left side as he was helped back to the clubhouse.
“You guys saw the replay. It’s tough,” Mike Trout said after Monday’s game. “The way he plays, he plays hard, 100 percent. You can’t tell him not to. He’s always been doing that, lunging at the bag, trying to get a hit. It was a big situation in the game. If he gets on base there, a two-run homer ties it. So it’s tough, especially if you lose a guy like [Simmons].”
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A Grade 3 ankle sprain is the most serious type of sprained ankle. It indicates a complete tear of the ankle ligament. The Angels will know more about the prognosis on Wednesday. But such a serious sprain could take eight to 12 weeks to heel. Such a timeline could keep Simmons sidelined until August or later, taking away a huge chunk of the season.
Obviously, losing Simmons for an extended period is a huge blow for the Angels. In addition to being one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, Simmons has spent most of the season batting either third or fourth in the Los Angeles lineup. He’s currently hitting .298 with an OPS of .738. Considering the Angels have spent the entire season without Justin Upton, who is due to miss another month, even more pressure will fall on the shoulders of Trout to carry the offense with Simmons out as well.
With Simmons unavailable, the Angels may end up shuffling their infield around on an almost daily basis. David Fletcher and Zack Cozart are expected to fill-in at shortstop. Both began their careers at shortstop, although there will surely be a drop-off defensively from Simmons. Cozart has also been atrocious offensively this season, hitting just .129, so he may not see much of a bump in playing time unless he can start to hit.
If Fletcher becomes the team’s primary shortstop, Tommy La Stella figures to move over to third base after handling most of the duties at second base this season. Meanwhile, Luis Rengifo, who replaced Simmons on the roster, could get a chance to get regular playing time at either second base or shortstop. Of course, while Fletcher and La Stella have been productive players this season, Rengifo, a rookie, is just 5 for 34 in his big league career.
No matter how you slice, losing Simmons for what could be two months or more is a massive blow to the Angels. The Halos are already three games under .500 and struggling to stay afloat. Losing arguably their best overall player outside of Trout could be too much to overcome. If the Angels can’t stay within striking distance of .500 over the next month or so, the injury Simmons could end up being the beginning of the end of their 2019 season.