Other than Mike Trout, shortstop Andrelton Simmons is probably more valuable to the Los Angeles Angels than anybody on the club. However, the Angels will have to figure out a way to get by without the four-time Gold Glove winner for what could be two to three months.
Simmons sustained a Grade 3 sprain to his left ankle on Monday, hitting the first base bag awkwardly as he lunged to beat out a grounder. A Grade 3 sprain typically requires eight to 12 weeks of recovery time, but he is scheduled to see a specialist Wednesday in an effort to get a more definitive timetable.
When the Angels play host to the Twins on Wednesday night, Los Angeles will have a variety of players to choose from to play shortstop. David Fletcher got the nod on Tuesday in the Angels' 8-3 loss to Minnesota, and he went 3-for-3 with a walk.
On Wednesday it could be Fletcher, Zack Cozart or Luis Rengifo.
"It's a huge blow," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said of losing Simmons. "I mean, he's one of the best all-around players in the game. His defense is probably more valuable than a lot of player's bats. Regardless of the length of time, it's a big blow. There's no good time to lose Simmons."
Simmons is hitting .298/.323/.415 with three homers, 13 doubles and 21 RBIs in 46 games this season.
"I'm going to try my best to come back fast," Simmons said. "The training staff is going to try to do the opposite and make sure I'm 100 percent. I'm used to coming back kind of fast, but I can't predict yet. I've got to wait for the swelling to go down to figure out where we're at."
The news is especially bad for the Angels pitchers, who have grown to appreciate Simmons' skills in the field. Matt Harvey will start Wednesday's game, coming off a victory over Kansas City in his most recent start.
Harvey is 2-3 with a 6.35 ERA in nine starts, both victories coming against the Royals. In his only career start against Minnesota, Harvey got a win after allowing one run and two hits in eight innings while pitching for the New York Mets in 2013.
Harvey will be opposed by Twins left-hander Martin Perez, who is off to a fast start this season, going 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 10 games (seven starts).
Perez's first three appearances were out of the bullpen, and he went 1-0 with a 7.56 ERA. Since being moved into the rotation, Perez has thrived, going 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA.
Some of the credit for Perez's newfound success can be attributed to the addition of a cutter, but he believes it's more than that.
"How I've been pitching a few years ago, I changed everything," Perez said. "I throw a lot of strikes. I was starting to attack, trying to hit the glove, and I think my tempo during the game is good, too."
Perez is 4-5 with a 4.34 ERA in 17 career games (13 starts) against the Angels, all while pitching for the Texas Rangers from 2012-18.
The Twins have won seven of their past eight games while the Angels have dropped three in a row and five of seven.
--Field Level Media