Sk­aggs set to re­turn to start­ing ro­ta­tion

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Pe­dro Moura pe­dro.moura@la­times.com Twit­ter: @pe­dro­moura

The An­gels will rein­tro­duce a long-gone mem­ber of their ro­ta­tion Satur­day against Oak­land. Left­hander Tyler Sk­aggs will re­turn to the mound af­ter a three-month ab­sence.

Sk­aggs suf­fered a strained oblique mus­cle in Texas on April 29. Strains of Sk­aggs’ sever­ity typ­i­cally take 10-12 weeks to re­turn from. Satur­day marks 14 weeks, though the pitcher could have beaten the time­line if not for a set­back in Ari­zona last month.

Sk­aggs, 26, felt a re­cur­rence of the oblique pain just be­fore he was due to take a mi­nor league mound on an 110-de­gree night in Ari­zona. Af­ter a three-week de­lay, he wound up mak­ing four starts while on re­hab as­sign­ment.

“It’s been a long road to get back,” he said.

In three triple-A out­ings, Sk­aggs gave up three runs and failed to fin­ish five in­nings each time. He also threw no more than 85 pitches and thus could be lim­ited in his first go.

Even so, Sk­aggs rep­re­sents po­ten­tial the An­gels have not had in their ro­ta­tion for months. Once one of the sport’s top prospects, he had a 3.99 earned-run av­er­age in five starts be­fore his in­jury. He pitched to a 4.26 mark in 26 starts between 2014 and 2016.

Chavez to bullpen

The An­gels are mak­ing an­other move in their start­ing ro­ta­tion, mov­ing veteran right-han­der Jesse Chavez to the bullpen ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

Chavez owns a 5.43 ERA af­ter back-to-back poor starts on the team’s re­cently com­pleted road trip. He watched Wed­nes­day’s game from the An­gels’ bullpen.

Rookie Troy Scrib­ner will start Friday against Oak­land, tak­ing his spot.

Scios­cia said a “cou­ple things” in­flu­enced the de­ci­sion. He first men­tioned Mon­day’s trade of David Her­nan­dez and the An­gels’ ac­com­pa­ny­ing need to fill re­lief in­nings. He then cited Chavez’s ex­pe­ri­ence as a re­liever. “Jesse could be a big wild card in our bullpen,” Scios­cia said.

The 33-year-old has made 267 ca­reer re­lief ap­pear­ances, pitch­ing to a 4.96 ERA, about a half-run worse than his mark as a starter. Chavez has long held a rep­u­ta­tion for fad­ing down the stretch, sup­ported by statis­tics.

His ca­reer ERA is more than two runs worse in the sec­ond half than the first. He said in the spring his goal for the year was to prove that rep­u­ta­tion un­founded. In mak­ing the move, the team is also sav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant sum. If Chavez com­pleted the sea­son in the start­ing ro­ta­tion, he would have re­ceived an ad­di­tional $1.7 mil­lion in in­cen­tive pay­ments, on top of the $6.55 mil­lion he is al­ready guar­an­teed.

Short hops

Matt Shoe­maker (pos­te­rior in­terosseous nerve syn­drome) threw a 30-pitch bullpen ses­sion Wed­nes­day, his first time throw­ing in nearly a month. His next step will be de­ter­mined based on how he feels Thursday, but he said the ses­sion went well. … Gar­rett Richards ex­tended his throw­ing past 200 feet, he said. … Left fielder Cameron May­bin (sprained knee) hit again Wed­nes­day but will not begin a re­hab as­sign­ment un­til at least Friday.

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