LA Angels injured pitchers making progress, could boost playoff hopes.
The LA Angels pitching staff has had to deal with numerous injuries this season. Many of them are making progress and are seeing light of their rehab tunnel.
When the LA Angels lost both Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards within the first of the 2017 season many people were thinking. Oh no! Not again. The rehabilitation process has been a lengthy process for both pitchers. Since then the Angels have also lost Matt Shoemaker and Andrew Bailey as well.
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All four of these pitchers have been making great progress as of late. Skaggs and Bailey are nearing a return with both looking like they could be back within the next two weeks. Skaggs made his second rehab start on Saturday and came out of it well after throwing 62 pitches in four innings. Skaggs gave up six hits and three runs, striking out two batters and walking none.
The plan for Skaggs is to make a third rehab start on Thursday extend him to five innings and about 80 pitches. If all goes well Skaggs could start for the Angels against the Phillies next week. So far in two rehab starts Skaggs has pitched 7.2 innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits, striking out eight batters while walking none.
Skaggs was 1-1 in five starts in April for the Angels with a 3.99 ERA. Reliever Andrew Bailey, who hasn’t pitched since the first week of the season is also close to returning. Bailey has made three rehab appearances over the past week giving up two runs and three strike outs in three innings pitched. Bailey could be called up as early as next weeks as well that will further bolster the Angels bullpen.
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The Angels have also received good news in regards to Matt Shoemaker, as he has been allowed to resume throwing. Shoemaker was shutdown after a July 4th rehab start for the Inland Empire 66’ers. Shoemaker experienced soreness in his forearm during and after the start. He was given a cortisone shot three days later and told to not pick up a ball for 10 days.
Shoemaker threw from 60 feet last Friday, but he will have to extend it to 120 feet before making another rehab start. Garrett Richards is also increasing his throwing distance as he continues to progress since being cleared to throw again last weekend.
The final piece of this rehab puzzle is lefty Andrew Heaney. Heaney is trying to come back ahead of schedule from Tommy John Surgery. Heaney has made two rehab starts for the Angels Arizona Rookie League team. Heaney has pitched in 5.2 innings giving up two solo homers and posting a 3.18 ERA while striking out eight batters.
Heaney and even Richards are still longshots to pitch this season, but with every little bit of progress they are both hopeful of a late August or early September.
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If the Angels get any of these four starters back it will be like adding a pitcher at the trade deadline. It will bolster their playoff chances which have gone up slightly after the Angels took two of three games from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend to pull within 2.5 games of Tampa Bay in the race for the second wild-card spot.
We will just have to wait and see what happens and cross our collective fingers.