Skaggs set to return to starting rotation
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.
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.