Cozart out with Grade 1 calf strain
Infielder may not be available for Opening Day; Skaggs fans four in three innings vs. Cubs
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Infielder Zack Cozart was diagnosed with a Grade 1 left calf strain and will be out for a few weeks, which could put his Opening Day status in jeopardy, manager Brad Ausmus said on Tuesday.
Cozart, 33, was scratched from the lineup with tightness in his calf on Sunday and underwent an MRI exam, which revealed the strain. He's currently receiving treatment on his calf and hasn’t been cleared to start running again.
"He just felt something," Ausmus said. "Grade 1 is the mildest grade, so that's a plus. But I don't think Zack really was sure. He just felt something in his calf. He felt better the morning following the injury. He feels even much better today, which is a great sign. But he's not going to be on the field for a few weeks."
With Cozart possibly starting the season on the injured list, it means that Taylor Ward could be the Opening Day third baseman with David Fletcher at second base. Prospect Luis Rengifo is also in the mix at second base while veteran Tommy La Stella can play both second and third.
"As we talked about, second base and third base are the spots," Ausmus said. "They're kind of codependent in terms of the personnel that might fill those roles. So it definitely has an impact on the players."
Skaggs settles down
Unlike his first start that saw him strike out the side in the first inning and scuffle in the second, left-hander Tyler Skaggs got better as his outing went along in a 9-2 win over the Cubs on Tuesday. Skaggs went three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts against a lineup that featured several regulars.
"Just throwing more strikes," said Skaggs, who threw 33 of his 50 pitches for strikes. "In the first inning I fell behind a few guys, walked [Kyle] Schwarber in a non-competitive at-bat, but after I felt like I kind of locked it in."
Skaggs wasn't helped by an error in the first, as Mike Trout misplayed a double from Willson Contreras that allowed Contreras to score on the play. But Trout made up for it with a three-run blast in the third for his second homer of the spring.
"He totally redeemed himself," Skaggs said. "I mean, it would have been nice to have a little easier first inning. But you know what? Best player in the game."
Heaney throws bullpen
Left-hander Andrew Heaney, who has been dealing with elbow inflammation since his start against the A's on Feb. 26, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He had been throwing on flat ground the previous three days but saw his scheduled start on Sunday pushed back.
If Heaney feels good on Wednesday, he could return to the rotation on Friday to start against the White Sox. The injury is minor enough that Heaney never underwent an MRI exam.
Outfielder Michael Hermosillo has yet to play in a Cactus League game after dealing with the breakup of scar tissue related to his offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia. But he's starting to ramp up his baseball activities and is expected to see action before the end of Spring Training.
"Today was the first time he had a look on his face where he said he feels much better," Ausmus said. "He's finally trending in the right direction."
Hermosillo, ranked as the club's No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is competing with veteran non-roster invitees Peter Bourjos and Jarrett Parker for an extra outfield spot. But he might not get enough at-bats this spring and the Angels appear more likely to send the 24-year-old to Triple-A Salt Lake where he can get regular playing time.
"We'll have to see when he’s ready," Ausmus said. "We'll have to make a determination on when he'll be able to play in games. The other thing is coming back from an injury you don't want to rush him back into games and play him every day because it might stress the injury. So we'll just wait and see when he's able to play and how much time we have before the season starts and we'll kind of gauge it from there."
Right-hander Matt Harvey will make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday, when the Angels travel to Salt River Fields to play the Rockies at 12:10 p.m. PT. Harvey, who was slowed early in camp with a glute strain, threw in a "B" game against the D-backs on Saturday. He’s scheduled to go roughly 50 pitches or three innings. Jon Gray starts for Colorado.