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Andrelton Simmons’ return gives Chicago Cubs a timely boost with shortstop Nico Hoerner on disabled list – The Denver Post

Andrelton Simmons’ return to the Chicago Cubs couldn’t have come at a better time.

Simmons endured a frustrating rehab due to pain in his right shoulder, something he had never experienced in his 11-year major league career before he was sidelined during spring training.

But with second baseman Nick Madrigal already on the injured list, shortstop Nico Hoerner’s move to the IL on Sunday dealt a major blow to the Cubs’ middle depth while costing them one of their best defensive players.

The Cubs activated Simmons from IL as a matching move on Sunday, and he came on as a defensive backup at shortstop in the ninth inning and recorded the final against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Simmons – who started short in Game 1 of the series on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field – said his shoulder felt pretty good but still had room to improve.

He didn’t have to wait long to land his first hit as a Cub. With the bases loaded in the first inning, Simmons hit a soft roll on the third base line that slowed to a stop halfway to base without a play being made. The two-out RBI fielding single was part of an eight-run first against the Pirates.

Hoerner’s stellar play at shortstop allowed Simmons to take the time needed to strengthen his shoulder and not feel pressured to join the Cubs until he was fully ready.

“He was holding it, so I’m like, okay, I have room to improve,” Simmons said. “Do I jump back or do I try to keep improving, as good as I can, so I’m close to my best?

“(Coaches) supported me all the time. They did overtime for me and all that. So they want me there. They do everything to keep me on the pitch.

Simmons was a bit discouraged by the length of the shoulder pain, but he’s happy to finally be with his teammates. All of his 1,190 major league games on the field have been at shortstop, although he’s willing to play second base if needed.

Simmons will likely get most of the playing time at shortstop as long as Hoerner is sidelined.

“I mean, I want to help the team any way I can,” Simmons said. “I know the court will always be my strong point, but Nico played pretty well. So whatever they need, I’m here to help them.



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