LA Angels News

Former LA Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker suffers knee injury

By David Rice
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 20: Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays collides with Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics while tagging him out in the bottom of the third inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 20, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 20: Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays collides with Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics while tagging him out in the bottom of the third inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 20, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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One of the most well liked LA Angels players in recent years, Matt Shoemaker left the team via free agency and signed with Toronto. So far he has done very well until …

Former LA Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker had a great rookie year in 2014 going 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA good enough to finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Shoemaker was never to find that magic in the last four seasons with the Angels missing major chunks of the past two seasons prompting the team to not attempt to re-sign the 32-yer old righty. Toronto took a chance on Shoemaker and so far it has paid off as he has gone 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA.

However on Saturday, Shoemaker injured his knee helping out in a rundown play against the A’s.  Shoemaker was seen pounding his fist into the ground after going to the turf in pain. The Blue Jays have said that it is a sprained knee and will do an MRI on Sunday to see the extent of the damage to Shoemaker’s knee.

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They have put Shoemaker on the 10-day IL, but have not announced how long they expect Shoemaker to be out.  Although he is no longer on the Angels, Shoemaker still has a lot of ties to his first major league club and a definite connection still with Halo fans and for good reason. Shoemaker is genuine nice guy who was easy to root for.

Shoemaker never pulled any punches he told it like it is. If he pitched poorly he wouldn’t make any excuses.  When it was going well he wouldn’t relish in the glory or get cocky about.  Shoemaker is a very well-grounded individual.

Shoemaker always was quick to credit his success to having good support from his family, especially his wife Danielle. Shoemaker also has always given credit to a higher power which he has said to me in multiple interviews, “My faith in God has gotten me through a lot of tough times.”

Unfortunately since Shoemaker’s great rookie season he has had more tough times than most people could handle, but he has always dealt with dignity, class, and his faith.  No Angel fan could ever forget the fateful day in Seattle when a screaming line drive to his head off the bat of the Mariners’ Kyle Seager that sent Shoemaker to the hospital where he had to have brain surgery to relieve the swelling in his brain and stop the bleeding caused by the blow.

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 04: Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is helped off the field after being hit in the head with a batted ball off the bat of Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Safeco Field on September 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 04: Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is helped off the field after being hit in the head with a batted ball off the bat of Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Safeco Field on September 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

Shoemaker came back in 2017 and started the season fairly well going 6-3 with a 4.52 ERA in 14 starts.  However, in the middle of June, Shoemaker felt pain in his right forearm and had to go on the DL.  He ended up never coming back from the injury which was said to be nerve related and he had surgery to relieve pain that came from a compressed radial nerve.

However, that was not the case as after Shoemaker had made only one start the pain returned.  Shoemaker was again placed on the DL.  However, after doing more test and another MRI it was found out that the pain he was experiencing actually came from a longitudinal split in the pronator tendon.  This injury was so abnormal that the doctors had never seen anything like it which is possibly how they missed seeing it on Shoemaker’s original MRI.

Shoemaker was finally able to return to the mound in Anaheim in September and he made six starts finishing 2018 with a 2-2 record and a 4.94 ERA. It was a nice way to end a frustrating season, but the Angels and Shoemaker decided to part ways which brought him to Toronto.

Even though he was no longer on the only team he had ever known, the Angels, many Halo fans including myself have been rooting for him to do well in Toronto which he has done so far in 2019 going 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts until Saturday’s latest setback.

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I have had the chance to interview Shoemaker three times in the last three seasons and he has always been really nice and congenial and has a good sense of humor as well.  In his one minor league rehab start I covered Shoemaker got hit by a line drive in his butt as he turned to try to avoid the ball.

Many of the media who were there to cover Mike Trout’s rehab assignment, were speculating where the ball hit “Shoe”.  So I asked Shoemaker about the play and he nonchalantly said

“It got me right in the butt, good place to get me. I have a lot of padding there,” Shoemaker said with a laugh.

Shoemaker has always been a friendly personality whenever I have interacted him whether it be in an interview or in quick casual conversations in the Angels dugout. He always make you feel like you matter to him.

Shoemaker deserves a better fate than he has had in his career with all the freak injuries he has had to endure. Despite another injury caused by an unusual play such as Saturday’s rundown.  No matter how long Shoemaker is out you can bet that he will lean on his faith in God and his family to get through this latest setback.

“My faith is a huge part of my life, especially when your on the DL. It’s rough, but if you can stay mentally strong it is important. God helps keep me in that position and stay mentally strong to get through it,” Shoemaker said in that same interview.

Next. Shohei Ohtani eyeing return soon.

Although baseball is not that important  in the grand scheme of life, it is very important to guys like Matt Shoemaker who use it to make a living. So I ask for those of you in the Angel family who profess the faith in God like Shoemaker and his wife Danielle do, send up a prayer for a speedy recovery and comfort to our old friend Matt Shoemaker.  May you get back to heath soon.

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