Simmons (thumb) takes batting practice, could return this weekend

Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit in the batting cages and took batting practice before the Braves’ game against Miami on Friday. It was the first time he’d hit since suffering a bone bruise in his right thumb Saturday in Philadelphia.

He remained out of the lineup Friday for the fifth consecutive game, but manager Fredi Gonzalez thinks he could play by the end of the weekend.

“I (asked Simmons), ‘How does it feel? When can you play?” Gonzalez said. “He goes, ‘Whenever you put me in.’”

Simmons hurt his thumb attempting a diving catch in the Braves’ 12-2 loss to the Phillies on Saturday.

In the meantime, rookie shortstop Daniel Castro is 8-for-21 (.381) with four runs scored as Simmons’ fill-in.

“I didn’t even know this was (Castro’s) first year up,” Simmons said. “… But he came in. He’s doing a fine job at short, has made every play. Just battling at the plate.”

Simmons hit .250 (8-for-32) with two runs scored in his final 10 games before getting injured.