Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Los Angeles Angels
news

Related News

Skaggs, Cozart, Upton progress on backfields

Injured Angels hoping to be ready for Opening Day
@RhettBollinger
March 15, 2019

TEMPE, Ariz. -- While the Angels had split-squad games against the D-backs and Giants on Friday, three important players coming off injuries saw action in Minor League games in the backfields of the club’s Spring Training complex. Lefty Tyler Skaggs, who was scratched from his last start on Sunday because

TEMPE, Ariz. -- While the Angels had split-squad games against the D-backs and Giants on Friday, three important players coming off injuries saw action in Minor League games in the backfields of the club’s Spring Training complex.

Lefty Tyler Skaggs, who was scratched from his last start on Sunday because of forearm fatigue, got his pitch count up to 50, allowing just one hit in three-plus innings. He faced both Zack Cozart (left calf strain) and Justin Upton (right knee tendinitis), as Cozart and Upton bounced between two Minor League games and received eight plate appearances each.

All three players believe they will be ready for the start of the regular season, but they will have to ramp up their activities over the next week, especially with Opening Day less than two weeks away on March 28 against the A’s in Oakland.

"It felt really good,” Skaggs said. “I thought I threw the ball really well. I was a little rusty in the first few innings. Some pitches weren’t as crisp, but overall, mechanics-wise, I felt really smooth. Today, I worked on first-pitch curveballs and I think I threw some good ones."

Skaggs is scheduled to pitch again in five days, but it hasn't been announced whether it’ll come in another Minor League game or if he’ll return to Cactus League action. But even if he’s not fully stretched out for the start of the season, he believes he’ll be close enough to be part of the rotation to open the year.

“I feel like I'm ready to roll,” Skaggs said. “It's still early. I still need to get my pitch count up. Still need to get my innings up. It's completely their decision. But in the first few starts of the season you rarely go 100 pitches anyway.”

Cozart, who was originally scratched from the lineup on March 3 and hasn't played since, shared similar optimism, as he said he feels healthy. He ran without any issues on Friday and is expected to play in Minor League games again on Sunday and Monday, with plans to get at least eight plate appearances each day.

“From a health perspective, I feel 100 percent,” Cozart said. “I ran today on the field and felt good. Now it's just about getting at-bats and timing in my eyes."

Cozart didn't get any hits on the day, but did draw a walk against Skaggs, laying off a 3-2 curveball. He said the long layoff affected his timing but that he should be able to regain it over the next few days.

“It was terrible," Cozart said of his timing. "But I think it had been 12 or 13 days. I'll get that. I'm not worried about that. I'm just happy my calf is feeling good. I'm just ready to go."

Upton, meanwhile, has yet to play in a Cactus League game this spring, as the Angels have been cautious with him after dealing with knee tendinitis early in camp. But he played in a Minor League game for a second straight day and has been participating in both running and outfield drills.

“Everything feels fine, physically,” Upton said. “Just, you know, trying to get the body back used to moving around. I was down for quite a while. So it will just be a matter of kind of getting my legs under me.”

Upton went hitless but walked three times and said he hopes to play in regular Spring Training games in a few days. He believes that the key will be getting reps playing defense more so than getting at-bats.

"I'd just like to play some outfield,” Upton said. “That'd be huge. I haven't been in game situations as far as outfield stuff, so I think that's the first priority, to get some outfield innings.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.