Results tagged ‘ Matt Shoemaker ’

Angels claim a reliever; can they claim a starter? …

The Angels claimed reliever Vinnie Pestano, a veteran sidearmer who was really good very recently (2.45 ERA in 137 appearances for the Indians from 2011-12) and who carries plenty of flexibility (he can be optioned this year and next year, and is under club control for three more years).

What would really be great is if they could acquire the Pestano equivalent as a starting pitcher.

That’s “really hard,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

“The idea that you can make the perfect acquisition for your rotation in August is not great, but there are going to be available options. We just have to determine what the right timing is, or if we need one.”

The Angels currently have Tyler Skaggs nursing a forearm strain that will put him out an indefinite amount of time and C.J. Wilson holding a 12.50 ERA in five starts leading up to tonight’s Freeway Series finale. That leaves their rotation very vulnerable, with Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker being counted on to step up in support of Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards, and very little available to them in their Minor League system.

Dipoto pointed out that left-hander Wade LeBlanc, reacquired on June 17, has been pitching well at Triple-A Salt Lake, where he has a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts. Chris Volstad is also there, with a 5.18 ERA in four starts. But the Angels — with money available — will continue to monitor the waiver wire in hopes of landing additional starting pitching depth.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the household name sitting in the 7 hole right now,” Dipoto said. “I don’t know that anyone really does. That’s what august waiver are for. That’s what our minor league system is for.”

It’s Mike Trout‘s 23rd birthday, in case you hadn’t heard. Here’s what he said about that pregame …

  • His best gift? “Nothing too crazy for my birthday. I got Cornhole. I played it over the All-Star break and I liked it. Parents got it. My mom’s brother builds them and he sent me one. Other than that, I don’t need gifts.”
  • Trout has homered in each of his last two games on his birthday. Pressure to hit one tonight? “Nah, no pressure to do so. If I hit one tonight, I hit one.”
  • Do you feel old? “Everyone keeps asking me that. I was talking to [Jered Weaver] about it, looking at how much time I have up here. After this year, over three years. It’s been quick. I’m having fun here; this is where you want to be. I can’t ask for anything else.”

And the lineups for tonight’s Freeway Series finale …

Dodgers (65-50)

Justin Turner, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Matt Kemp, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS

SP: LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5, 3.39 ERA)

Angels (67-46)

Erick Aybar, SS
Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, DH
Josh Hamilton, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
David Freese, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
C.J. Cron, 1B
Collin Cowgill, RF

SP: LH C.J. Wilson (8-7, 4.74 ERA)

Alden

Where does Hector Santiago stand? …

Hector SantiagoMike Scioscia knows who his starters will be on Saturday and Sunday, but won’t announce them until Friday, probably because a corresponding roster move is involved. One of the games will be started by Jered Weaver, and for the other it’ll either be Hector Santiago or Matt Shoemaker. And with that, the Angels’ manager will have essentially made the much-wondered-about rotation decision, which was made difficult by how effective Shoemaker and Santiago have been lately.

Santiago has one thing pointing in his favor: Soon, the Angels have to basically figure out whether or not he’s going to start for them down the stretch.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is exactly six weeks away, and the Angels have two potential needs: Lefty reliever and starting pitcher. Santiago has a chance to fill either of those roles, but obviously not both. And the decision to keep him in the rotation could rest partly on the fact that they need to figure out whether or not trading for a starting pitcher is necessary.

The Angels have the flexibility to absorb payroll – remember, the money they offered to Matt Garza this offseason essentially went unused — but getting a front-of-the-rotation starter would mean parting ways with top prospects from a farm system that needs to grow. Acquiring a lefty reliever probably would not.

The Angels have been heavily linked to Rays ace David Price, most recently by ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden, who believes C.J. Cron and Alex Yarbrough could be enough to get a deal done. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal linked them to Ian Kennedy of the Padres and Dillon Gee of the Mets. I’ve heard they like Kennedy, Travis Wood of the Cubs and J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays (albeit a contender), among others. The Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija is a sexy name who could be shopped since he turned down a reported extension offer, but he — like Price and the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, who’s currently rehabbing from an elbow strain — will cost some top-shelf prospects.

But before they go in that direction, the Angels need to find out if Santiago’s last two starts were a fluke or a sign that he’s actually rounding into the form they expected when they traded for him.

Now, is five weeks enough to draw a conclusion?

Alden

Shoemaker makes a statement …

Matt ShoemakerMatt Shoemaker certainly isn’t making the Angels’ forthcoming rotation decision an easy one, and that’s certainly a good thing for the organization.

In Tuesday’s 9-3 win, the 27-year-old right-hander got “real aggressive” and tossed a career-high eight innings, giving up only two runs, scattering five hits, walking one batter and striking out a career-high 10. He could’ve had a complete game, but the tarp came onto the field as he warmed up in the bottom of the ninth with 94 pitches, prompting an 11-minute rain delay that forced Mike Scioscia to use Ernesto Frieri (his only rested reliever).

“I was thinking if it’s a real quick one I have a chance to go back out there,” Shoemaker said. “A lot of times, it’s like a 20-, 30-minute delay, and once that happens, hopefully I get a chance to go back out there. It’s unfortunate, but I understand.”

Shoemaker will settle for the win, and continued success. In six starts since initially replacing Hector Santiago in the rotation, he’s 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA.

Asked what he feels like he’s shown the Angels since arriving from Triple-A, Shoemaker said: “That I can definitely compete at this level and be a good attribute to this team. Just keep taking that mental approach of being aggressive, and do whatever I can to help this team win.”

Tyler Skaggs could be activated early next week, at which point the Angels will seemingly have to make a decision between Santiago and Shoemaker. Santiago has stated his case, too, pitching six shutout innings against the A’s on June 10 and throwing five scoreless against the Braves on Sunday before getting hit around a bit in the sixth — and he’d probably have the upper-hand given how much the Angels were counting on him at the start of the year.

But Shoemaker has shown he deserves to stay in the big leagues, either as a starter or a swingman in the bullpen.

The latter, however, would cut into the Angels’ organizationally starting-pitching depth.

“You never try to think about that,” Shoemaker said of pending roster decisions. “Sometimes you might think about some of that. But you say, ‘OK, let’s not think about that. Let’s think about what we’ve got today.'”

Alden

Skaggs won’t be activated when eligible …

Tyler SkaggsIt turns out Tyler Skaggs won’t be activated when eligible on Saturday.

Skaggs, on the disabled list since June 10 because of a strained right hamstring, didn’t throw his scheduled simulated game at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Instead, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, the 22-year-old left-hander will “probably throw a bullpen in the next couple days.”

Scioscia said Skaggs didn’t suffer a setback; the Angels are just “going on his pace.”

“He’s feeling good,” Scioscia added, “but not quite enough to do what you need him to do in a sim game.”

The Angels can afford to wait a little longer, with Hector Santiago (six shutout innings against the A’s, followed by five scoreless against the Braves before a rough sixth inning) and Matt Shoemaker (3-0 with a 3.76 ERA in five starts heading into his Tuesday outing) throwing the ball well.

Skaggs would have to see hitters before getting activated, either in a sim game or, if his recovery stalls a little longer, a Minor League rehab assignment.

“I think it’s just getting back to where he wants his mechanics, his motions, everything,” Scioscia said of Skaggs, who’s 4-4 with a 4.34 ERA in 12 starts. “He was down for like nine days, so it’s going to take a little bit of work to get him where he wants to be.”

Angels (37-32)

Kole Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Josh Hamilton, DH
Erick Aybar, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
David Freese, 3B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Hank Conger, C

SP: RH Matt Shoemaker (3-1, 4.19 ERA)

Indians (36-35)

Michael Bourn, CF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Carlos Santana, 1B
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
David Murphy, RF
Nick Swisher, DH
Yan Gomes, C
Ryan Raburn, LF

SP: RH Josh Tomlin (4-3, 3.33 ERA)

Alden

De La Rosa activated off DL, optioned to Triple-A

Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles June 11, 2013Having exceeded his limit for a rehab assignment, the Angels activated reliever Dane De La Rosa off the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday.

Pitchers on the DL can’t be on a rehab assignment longer than 30 days – it’s 20 days for position players – and Monday marked De La Rosa’s 30th day with the Salt Lake Bees, a team he’ll continue to pitch for without accruing Major League service time.

De La Rosa, 31, posted a 2.86 ERA while leading the Angels with 75 relief appearances last season, but has dealt with injuries throughout 2014. The journeyman right-hander was affected by a forearm strain in Spring Training, experienced a sharp dip in velocity during his season debut on April 12 and has spent the rest of the time recovering from irritation in his right s/c joint.

De La Rosa began his rehab assignment on May 4, shut it down for a week and a half from May 11-20, then posted a 5.14 ERA in seven one-inning appearances upon returning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia has said De La Rosa’s velocity is getting more consistent, but needs to see better command before re-inserting him in his bullpen.

Josh Hamilton is expected to be activated off the DL for Tuesday’s series opener against the Astros, after spending eight weeks recovering from surgery in his left thumb. Hamilton is taking the roster spot of right-hander Jarrett Grube, who was optioned to Triple-A after Sunday’s game. The Angels will temporarily go to a six-man bullpen, with Matt Shoemaker — pushed back, and likely starting Saturday — can provide some length over the next couple of days if needed.

Alden

Wade LeBlanc DFA’d; Jarrett Grube called up …

Angels left-hander Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment on Saturday, one day after a bullpen-saving performance in a 9-5 loss to the A’s, and called up right-hander Jarrett Grube to take his place on the roster.

LeBlanc, out of options, gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings on Friday night in relief of Garrett Richards, who allowed five runs before recording the third out of the first inning. Now the Angels risk losing LeBlanc off waivers, unable to send him back down to Triple-A unless 29 other teams pass up a chance to acquire him.

Grube, 32, has a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake, posting a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61 1/3 innings. In the Major Leagues for the first time, Grube was a 10th-round Draft pick by the Rockies in 2004, spent half a season in independent ball, was in the Mariners organization two years and was acquired by the Angels as a Minor League in July 2012.

Grube has a 4.14 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his professional career.

It’s a tough break for LeBlanc — and may end up being a tough break to the Angels if they lose him — but he was basically out of commission to the Angels for the next four days because he threw 94 pitches. The Angels could’ve tried to bide their time with a six-man bullpen until then, especially since they’re off on Monday and are pushing back Matt Shoemaker (starting C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs, respectively, in the three-game Houston series from Monday to Wednesday).

But apparently felt they needed that extra length right away.

Alden

Sean Burnett suffers a torn UCL …

Angels reliever Sean Burnett has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, an injury that will knock him out for the rest of the season and may require a second Tommy John surgery, an MRI revealed on Wednesday.

As the corresponding move for Burnett going on the disabled list, the Angels recalled right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who will start on Thursday against the Mariners.

Burnett was three appearances into his return from a nine-month rehabilitation from elbow surgery when he felt elbow discomfort in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on Tuesday night. Burnett got Michael Saunders to pop out, then motioned to the dugout and was taken out of the game.

When approached by reporters afterwards, the 31-year-old left-hander was on the verge of tears and had to cut the interview short after less than 30 seconds.

With the Nationals from 2010-12, Burnett – a product of Tommy John surgery in 2004 – posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP while compiling 212 appearances.

The Angels signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract in November 2012, but Burnett never got healthy. In 2013, Burnett made two separate trips to the DL, appeared in only 13 games and didn’t pitch past late May, suffering a torn flexor tendon that required surgery that August. Burnett spent all of 2014 working his way back, suffering a temporary setback after a bad reaction to a shot in late March and then gradually working through a rehab assignment before being activated on Friday.

Burnett’s return lasted all of three batters.

The Angels hold a $4.5 million club option on Burnett for 2015, with a $500,000 buyout.

Alden

Burnett suffers his most frustrating setback yet …

Angels reliever Sean Burnett, three outings into his return from a nine-month rehabilitation, was removed from Tuesday’s game because of discomfort in his surgically repaired left elbow and will be evaluated in Southern California on Wednesday.

Burnett will likely land on the disabled list, and the Angels will cross their fingers that the injury isn’t serious.

“Lot of frustration right now,” Burnett said when approached by a scrum of reporters at the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field. “I’m trying to stay positive.”

Shortly after that, the 31-year-old lefty reliever’s eyes welled up and he had to walk away from the interview, the emotions of yet another setback still too raw for Burnett, who was limited to 13 appearances in 2013 and underwent elbow surgery in August – a procedure that saw Dr. James Andrews reopen the scar from his Tommy John surgery in 2004 and clean up residual scar tissue.

“He’s worked his [butt] off to get back to this point,” Angels ace Jered Weaver said. “He’s a great guy, man. He wants to go out there and he wants to help his team win. I know he’s very frustrated. Tough time for him right now. Hopefully when they get results back of whatever they’re going to do tomorrow, hopefully it’s not as serious as something torn or something like that. It’s tough, man.”

Prior to the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said left-hander Wade LeBlanc would start on Thursday. But if Burnett goes on the DL, the Angels can recall Matt Shoemaker to make that start. Shoemaker posted a 2.81 ERA in three starts in place of Hector Santiago, but was sent down because the Angels needed length from the bullpen after their relievers accounted for eight innings in Saturday’s 13-inning game.

Burnett entered the seventh inning of a two-run lead to face left-handed-hitters Michael Saunders and Robinson Cano. He got Saunders to pop out to shortstop, then motioned to the dugout, prompting Scioscia to walk out to the mound with trainer Rick Smith and remove Burnett after a brief conversation.

With the Nationals from 2010-12, Burnett posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP while compiling 212 appearances.

But ever since signing a two-year, $8 million contract with the Angels the ensuing offseason, he’s battled issues with his left elbow.

“Naturally you’re concerned,” Scioscia said of Burnett. “We really don’t have an idea of what it is now. We’ll get direction from our medical department, he’ll get evaluated tomorrow by our doctors down in California and we’ll take it one step at a time. We’ll wait and see what’s going on.”

Alden

Santiago optioned to Triple-A …

Hector SantiagoThe Angels optioned Hector Santiago to Triple-A on Wednesday, 12 days after he was removed from the rotation, as the corresponding move to activate right fielder Kole Calhoun.

The Angels now have only an 11-man pitching staff, but will probably go back to the traditional 12 by Friday, with either Dane De La Rosa or Sean Burnett returning from the disabled list and a position player – likely Efren Navarro – going down to Triple-A.

Simply put, Santiago needs to pitch.

The 26-year-old left-hander had made only two appearances in nearly two weeks as a pseudo swingman and the Angels still view him as a starting pitcher long term. So he’ll get stretched out again with the Salt Lake Bees, with the hope of recapturing the command that will eventually bring him back to the rotation.

“Take it as a positive,” Santiago said, even though it was hard for him to. “They want me in the rotation; they want to keep me stretched out. But now it’s just time to work and get back into it.”

Santiago, acquired along with Tyler Skaggs in the three-team deal that sent Mark Trumbo to the D-backs in December, went 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in the first seven starts of his Angels career. Some of it had to do with very little run support, or several instances of bad luck, or a back ailment he nursed through most of his first three starts. But mostly, Santiago was walking too many hitters (4.3 per nine innings) and letting too many innings snowball.

So early Wednesday afternoon, Santiago got called into manager Mike Scioscia’s office, where general manager Jerry Dipoto and pitching coach Mike Butcher were waiting with news the southpaw partly deemed inevitable.

“We were very open and honest about what we saw and what he needs to do, and Hector was very receptive,” Scioscia said. “I think he has a good frame of mind to work on the things he needs to work on, and I’d be very surprised if we’re not seeing him throwing the ball to his capabilities in a short amount of time, because he has a great arm.”

In the meantime, Matt Shoemaker will continue to fill Santiago’s old spot.

Shoemaker, a 27-year-old Minor League journeyman, has given up just three runs in 11 innings while beating Cliff Lee and David Price in two starts. He’ll take his regular turn on Saturday – the Angels are keeping their pitching schedule in order after the Thursday off day – and continue to start until either he struggles or Santiago gets it together or both occur.

“It’s a little bump in the road,” Santiago said. “Go down and work on the same thing we’ve been working on and take some positives out of the last outing and run with it.”

Some additional notes from a pretty newsy day …

  • Mike Trout was out of the starting lineup for the first time on Wednesday due to the left hamstring tightness he’s been experiencing for the last few days. The move was just precautionary, because Trout can take two days off with the Angels not playing on Thursday. He said the hamstring actually feels better today.
  • Pitching prospect R.J. Alvarez was placed on the seven-day Minor League disabled list due to some “elbow tenderness,” Dipoto confirmed. Alvarez flew back to Anaheim to get an MRI, which is pretty much standard operating procedure. Alvarez’s velocity was normal during his most recent outing on May 12 — five strikeouts in two perfect innings for Double-A Arkansas — and the Angels don’t have any reason to believe it’s anything serious at this point.
  • Calhoun batted sixth today, but will probably return to the leadoff spot when Josh Hamilton returns to the lineup (maybe Monday).
  • De La Rosa (Triple-A) and Burnett (Double-A) are both slated to pitch in a rehab outing today.
  • Ian Stewart (left hand contusion) is still experiencing some pain when he takes batting practice, but is hoping to go on a rehab assignment this weekend.

Alden

Weaver scratched for Friday start vs. M’s …

Angels starter Jered Weaver has been scratched from his Friday start, with Matt Shoemaker taking his place in the rotation.

The move was announced Thursday, during the Angels’ off-day, and no reason was given as to why the ace right-hander won’t be starting the series opener against the Mariners.

Weaver did experience some tightness in his right forearm during a start in Minnesota on Sept. 9, but he took his next turn against the Astros on Saturday and pitched six innings of two-run ball. The Angels could be opting to simply give Weaver some extra rest with the season winding down and the team out of the playoff race, as manager Mike Scioscia has hinted at in the past.

Jerome Williams and C.J. Wilson will start Saturday and Sunday, as previously scheduled, but the starters for the early part of next week have not yet been announced. Interestingly, the Angels opted to start Shoemaker instead of Tommy Hanson, who was recalled from Triple-A early this week, or Joe Blanton, who has been in the bullpen since late July.

Shoemaker’s start will mark his Major League debut. The 26-year-old right-hander went 11-13 with a 4.64 ERA in 29 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake this year. Weaver is 10.8 with a 3.36 ERA in 23 starts. The 30-year-old has a 3.23 ERA since returning from a broken left elbow on May 29.

Alden

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