Former UCR star back in SoCal

Former UC Riverside baseball standout James Simmons is back in Southern California, for the moment.

Simmons, drafted by the Oakland A’s in the first round in 2007, arrived in San Bernardino on Monday. He is playing with the A’s California League affiliate – Stockton Ports, which was in town for a three-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers.

Simmons, 26, is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five starts. He had struggled at Triple-A Sacramento with an 0-2 record and 7.16 ERA in 12 relief appearances. The organization preferred using him as a reliever but he wanted to start and the best opportunity for him to do that was in Stockton.

He is not scheduled to pitch in the series which wraps up Wednesday in San Bernardino.