Matt Shoemaker keeps marching forward …

Matt Shoemaker, strained left oblique played catch for a fifth consecutive day on Friday, prior to the series opener from Safeco Field. The 27-year-old rookie backed up to about 150 feet, after throwing from 110 feet during the off day on Thursday. Shoemaker still has some hurdles to compete before getting cleared to start in the American League Division Series, but he continues to move in the right direction.

Asked how confident he is that Shoemaker will be ready for the first round, Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said: “Right now, based on how he’s feeling, how he’s throwing, I’m very confident that he’s going to be OK.”

“He’s getting better every day,” Butcher added. “Just keep progressing on an everyday basis, see how he feels every day coming into it, then once we get to a point where he feels like he’s getting after it on flat ground, maybe do some one-hope drills, get him on the mound, and that’s really the big task right there.”

Josh Hamilton did some defensive work pregame and will resume swinging the bat on Saturday, after what ended up being three days off (Wednesday’s recovery day, Thursday’s off day, then Friday). Hamilton isn’t expected to play this weekend, but can see some live pitching either during a simulated game in Anaheim or instructional league in Tempe, Ariz., next week.

“He has to see some velocity, whether it’s done in a simulated environment, just to get some perspective of velocity,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He did it in Spring Training when pulled calf muscle, got into a game and was very comfortable. He will see velocity in some form.”

Some other pregame notes …

  • Mike Trout is back in the lineup after exiting Wednesday’s game with a stomach illness.
  • I previously reported that C.J. Wilson was being moved up from Sunday to Saturday, which may be an indication that he’s starting Game 2 of the ALDS, but Scioscia said he was starting Saturday all along. It was just listed in the wrong order in the game notes. Scioscia said “we haven’t made any decisions” for who starts after Jered Weaver.
  • The Angels officially walked away from negotiations with the city of Anaheim.
  • ALCS tickets will go on sale Oct. 1.


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