On Monday, the Los Angeles Angels announced that shortstop Andrelton Simmons suffered a full-thickness tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and will be out for the foreseeable future.
Simmons endured the injury during the third inning of the Angels’ 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday while fielding a hard-hit groundball off the bat of Evan Longoria. Simmons lunged sharply to his right to get to the ball, and his glove awkwardly turned once it hit the ground. Simmons was removed shortly after the event occurred.
The Angels initially ruled the ailment as a sprain, but an MRI on Monday revealed the torn ligament. Simmons will undergo surgery to repair the ligament and is expected to be out for the next six-to-eight weeks. Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie sustained a similar injury in April of last season, and he was out until late July.
Cliff Pennington is a candidate to receive playing time at short in Simmons’ absence. Pennington has played all over the diamond for the Angels with the bulk of his playing time coming at second base. Shall the Angels opt to use Pennington at short, Johnny Giavotella will take over the duties at second. Pennington and Giavotella have split time at second this season, but the injury to Simmons presents a scenario that they will each get some playing time in.
The 26-year-old Simmons has been one of the most renowned defensive shortstops over the last handful of seasons, and his Platinum and Gold Glove Awards are clear representations of his smooth work with the glove. Dating back to his debut in 2012 with the Atlanta Braves, Simmons has logged an even 4,600 innings at short. In that time, Simmons has maintained a range factor of 4.57 and a fielding percentage of .983.
Simmons has recorded 25 hits in 111 at-bats this season, including four doubles and a homer. He has collected eight RBIs; Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Kole Calhoun are the only Angels with more to their credit on the season thus far.