Posted: 3:12 pm Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Little pink bicycle: Braves rookie learns lesson 

By David O'Brien

Braves pitching prospect Shae Simmons rides the bike B.J. Upton bought for him as good-natured "punishment" for Simmons catching a ride on a golf cart at a workout last week, a convenience reserved for veterans and staff. (Curtis Compton photo/AJC)

Braves pitching prospect Shae Simmons rides the bike B.J. Upton bought for him as good-natured “punishment” for Simmons catching a ride on a golf cart at a workout last week, a convenience reserved for veterans and staff. (Curtis Compton photo/AJC)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – If you attended a Braves workout the past two days, you may have noticed a player in uniform riding a tiny pink bike out to the backfields. So what was that about, you ask?

Braves pitching prospect Shae Simmons, in the first week of his first major league spring training, made the mistake a few days ago of hitching a ride on one of the golf carts that are driven by clubhouse staffers to take veteran players, coaches or team officials to their cars or back to the clubhouse or wherever. Some players noticed and weren’t overly amused.

B.J. Upton meted out some good-natured discipline by purchasing a kid-sized bicycle that Simmons, 23, has been required to pedal to and from the backfields at the beginning and end of workouts the past two days at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, passing by many curious fans and other onlookers.

Call it a teaching moment for Simmons, who has emerged as a legitimate prospect since the Braves selected him in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft out of Southeast Missouri State University.

The undersized (5-foot-9) right-hander had a combined 1.69 ERA in 50 appearances last season at Class-A Rome and Double-A Mississippi, with 82 strikeouts and 22 walks in 53-1/3 innings. In 39 games at Rome, he recorded 24 saves with a 1.49 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 42-1/3 innings.

In two minor league seasons, Simmons has a 1.62 ERA in 66 relief appearances, with 118 strikeouts, 38 walks and no home runs allowed in 78 innings.

20 comments
bratt771
bratt771

BJ is not the one to be doling out punishments.  He should actually be riding the bike till he can hit like a major league hitter.  What a let down last year I tell ya.

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

I am sure if Shae Simmons makes the team in the not too distant future that he will return the favor someday to another pitcher that needs a "ride"!

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

Well, I see the overly sensitive crowd came out in full force this weekend.  Its sad that this hurt about a dozen or so fan's feelings more than it did Simmons'.  You'd think BJ just threw the Pope off the Empire State building.  You people need to relax and not pop a blood vessel over a non-issue, y'all won't make it to the All Star break at this rate.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Range Rover


B.J. hit .300 in his first full season with Tampa Bay and hit the ball to right, center, and left.  He also had a completely different swing and approach to the ball that he does now.  The Rays wanted him to become a big time power hitter and he changed his approach and swing to improve his power hitting (although he did hit 24 HRs in his first full year).  He began to pull everything, and he was never the same after that and his BA went south with his swing.  But he was never as bad as he was last year.  I am sure he went back to his early years this off season and hopefully adjusted his swing back to what it was when he first come up to the majors.  If not, and he performs similar to last year this year, he will most likely not be on the Braves major league roster very long, despite the contract.  The Braves will just have to eat it, as they will with Uggla's contract if he does not improve this year as well. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

If B.J. goes back to the swing he had when he first came up to the Rays and hits the ball to all fields and does not worry about hitting HRs, many of you are going to be eating crow.  But that, of course, is a very BIG if.  Hope he does and I hope you haters do as well. 

GetBackJojo
GetBackJojo

I think since BJ is having so much fun with this, he should ride the pink bike onto the field for games until his bat comes alive. How 'bout less playin bully games, and work on your production. js

maps_retired
maps_retired

funny 

quite acceptable good natured hazing

(certainly no Incognito>Martin thing)

Ted_Striker
Ted_Striker

Not impressed by B.J. 


Bush league. 

LADawg
LADawg

David,

Please post the results if BJ faces Simmons in an inter-squad game. My money would be on Simmons by strikeout!

After all, Simmons started last year in Rome and was promoted to Mississippi. If BJ had started in Rome, he would have wound up in Danville.

DamonH
DamonH

maybe Shae needs to buy BJ a batting tee, call it a "teaching moment" for Upton (facing live pitching should be a convenience reserved for those who can actually hit)

ftputt
ftputt

What should BJ ride for playing so poorly last year?  If I were FF I'd make BJ ride a big wheel till he can hit with the big boys.

ColdSplash
ColdSplash

Guess it's only fitting....doesn't B.J. Stand for "big joke" anyway?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

BJ is not the veteran that should be dishing out anything, he should keep a low profile.


revt
revt

Yea, BJ is the player all rookies will want to emulate and learn from.


richbrave
richbrave

@ChopChamps95  


Sounds to me like B.J. is too hung up on individual status and not enough about making the team better. Those who reside in glass houses.......etc., etc.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@TampGator1  

I don't know if you played ball much (I played for 9 years:  pitching, catching & RF) but, if so, his approach, plate discipline, mechanics, swing and follow-through isn't anything close for "all field," situational and circumstantial hitting.  BJ is what he is and in all likelihood aways will be:  a free swinging guess hitter.  When he's not guessing well, it's one of the ugliest swings I have witnessed; when he IS guessing well, his tall, upright, statuesque swing will still yield no more than a mid 200's hitter.

He's an average major leaguer at best; he shouldn't be in a major league lineup at his worst.  And to think what Wren gave him for this would be a firing offense in corporate America.

MrGil2U
MrGil2U

@revt  Especially pitchers looking to fatten their strike out numbers