Simmons (thumb) feels OK grabbing a bat, still hasn’t hit

Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons missed his fifth consecutive game Thursday with a bone bruise in his right thumb. He hasn’t hit since suffering the injury Saturday in Philadelphia, but he said his thumb feels OK grabbing a bat.

“It’s definitely improving. Thank God there’s no setbacks,” Simmons said. “Everything is going good, it’s just a matter of convincing them to let me go the extra mile and start hitting and get in the game.”

Simmons fielded ground balls again Thursday during batting practice. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Simmons’ thumb hurt during the glove-to-hand transfer while fielding Tuesday, but Simmons said that wasn’t as much of a problem Wednesday.

“A little better but still a little sore. It’s nothing that I couldn’t do, but since I’m not playing there’s no point in irritating it,” he said. “So, I’m taking it slow when doing the transfer. It can be a little violent. I mean, it doesn’t seem like anything, but it’s hitting it a little and it causes a little pain. But it’s definitely been getting better.”

Simmons said he’s shooting to return by this weekend.

He injured his thumb while attempting a seventh-inning diving catch during the Braves’ 12-2 loss to the Phillies on Saturday.

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