ATLANTA -- Having the cast off his right hand makes Andrelton Simmons' life a lot easier. No longer does he have to do things with his left, although the Braves' slick-fielding rookie shortstop admits, "I was getting good at it."
But what Simmons wants to do is throw and hit a baseball again. That is still a ways off.
"Hopefully less than two weeks," he said. "That's all I heard. They try not to let me think ahead."
Simmons has begun physical therapy on his right pinkie finger, which he fractured on a head-first slide at Philadelphia on July 9 while hustling a single into a double. He was hitting .296 in 33 games and had turned the Braves' infield defense from a negative to a positive.
There is no timetable for Simmons' return to the lineup, but the 22-year-old from Curacao will need a Minor League rehab stint after he is cleared to play.
"At the best it would be the last week of August," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who admitted that early September is more likely.
Simmons, obviously, is hoping for August. Other than when he had to sit out with a stress fracture of his foot in junior college, he has never been out before.
"I've learned a lot sitting in the dugout and watching," he said. "But I want to apply it. I want to be out there on the field. It's frustrating."