Braves reliever Simmons slowed again by arm soreness

MIAMI – The Braves hoped that Shae Simmons could finish the season with a convincing September and re-establish himself as a reliever they could count on for 2017.

Instead, the hard-throwing right-hander been slowed once again by arm issues, this time forearm soreness that’s kept him out of games since Sept. 18. The Braves don’t think it’s anything serious that would require surgery, but Simmons will be examined soon to make sure.

“He’s not 100 percent, let’s put it that way,” said Braves interim manager Brian Snitker, who didn’t know if Simmons would pitch again before the season ends Oct. 2. “Not as good as you really want it to be. But, we’ll see. It’s something in his forearm right now that was bothering him a little bit. That may just be from the regular use, too. I don’t know.”

Braves general manager John Coppolella said, “I think if we were in a playoff hunt and he had to pitch, he could probably do it. But we’d rather err on the side of caution.”

More than eighteen months after having Tommy John elbow surgery, Simmons came off the disabled list Sept. 1 and pitched in seven games over an 18-day period, posting a 1.35 ERA and .240 opponents’ average with three strikeouts, no walks and six hits allowed in 6 2/3 innings.

He gave up three hits and his only run in two-thirds of an inning on Sept. 16, then pitched an inning (one hit, one strikeout) on Sept. 18. He hasn’t pitched since.

Simmons, who turned 26 last month, went 25 months without pitching in the majors after being shut down for the last two months of his 2014 rookie season with shoulder soreness. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow just before spring training 2015 and had surgery that February.

He was expected back by June this season, but had setbacks involving muscle groups around his throwing shoulder, including a latissimus dorsi strain that forced him to shut down his throwing for a couple of weeks.

As a promising rookie, Simmons debuted on May 31, 2014, converting a save in his second appearance and posting a 0.96 ERA and .172 opponents’ average in his first 20 games.

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