Simmons, who arrived in Seattle in a Jan. 11 trade with the Braves, feels fully healthy following 2015 Tommy John surgery and is looking to be a prominent part of the Mariners bullpen, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "You could say it's a new beginning, I guess, especially since I was out of the game for a year and a half or so," he said. "Now it's going to be nice to be around a new crew and learn more and develop my game mentally and physically. It'll be nice to just finally play a full season."
The 26-year-old feels that his arm is "stronger than ever" now almost two years removed from the procedure, and was impressive in his initial bullpen session of spring training Thursday. Simmons saw live game action in almost two years last September with the Braves, generating an impressive 1.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over a small sample of 6.2 innings and just as important, demonstrating the ability to once again fire a mid-90s fastball. The hard-throwing righty was once a closer candidate in Atlanta following a 2014 rookie campaign in which he compiled nine holds and a 2.91 ERA along with 23 whiffs in just under 22.0 innings. However, with Edwin Diaz in possession of that role in Seattle, Simmons will look to slot in alongside the likes of former closer Steve Chisek, Nick Vincent, Evan Scribner and Dan Altavilla as right-handed relief options for manager Scott Servais.
Smith, a 23-year-old with 80-grade speed, is the main prize for the Mariners, while Simmons represents more of a reclamation option out of the bullpen. The 26-year-old once held promise while rising through the Braves' minor-league system, but most of his luster has dimmed following Tommy John surgery in February 2015. Simmons recovered from the elbow procedure to return to the Braves, but tossed only 6.2 innings before being shut down with forearm soreness. It's generally expected that he'll be back to full health by the time spring training arrives, but the hard-throwing right-hander will have to prove to his new organization that he can still be an effective relief option. If he breaks camp with a 25-man roster spot in hand, Simmons will likely have to settle for low-leverage work before potentially working his way up the depth chart.
Simmons is dealing with forearm soreness, the Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien reports.
The Braves don't believe the issue is serious, but with nine days left in the season there is no reason to push the inexperienced reliever. If he can improve his control a little (17 percent walk rate at Triple-A) he could earn a spot in the bullpen out of spring training next year.
The 25-year-old hasn't pitched in a big league game since 2014, but he's put up strong production at Triple-A Gwinnett this season, notching a 1.50 ERA with 14 strikeouts over 12.0 innings. The Braves will likely use him in a middle relief role while he's up with the team.
He has logged 10.1 innings across several rehab assignments this year, but has not pitched in the big leagues since 2014. If Simmons were to get on a roll with Gwinnett then he would be an obvious candidate to be recalled when rosters expand, as he is on the 40-man roster.
|10/2/2016 vs Detroit|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8
| 9 || 10 || 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|