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Andrelton close to returning for Angels

Flashy shortstop could return this week, along with Young, Marte
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has not played since March 8 due to a strained left (non-throwing) shoulder, could return to action as soon as Thursday, manager Mike Scioscia said.

"If they put me out there, I'm playing," said Simmons, who has resumed throwing, hitting and running. "If they don't, I can only do so much."

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has not played since March 8 due to a strained left (non-throwing) shoulder, could return to action as soon as Thursday, manager Mike Scioscia said.

"If they put me out there, I'm playing," said Simmons, who has resumed throwing, hitting and running. "If they don't, I can only do so much."

View Full Game Coverage

Simmons said he hasn't encountered any lingering issues with his shoulder so far, though he has yet to test it under game conditions. He added that he's eager to get back in the batter's box to make sure his timing is in sync ahead of Opening Day. Simmons had gone hitless in his first nine Cactus League at-bats before being slowed by the injury.

"Timing is still a work in progress, but I'm seeing the ball good, so that's a good start," Simmons said. "I'm lucky it's still Spring Training. Not the best, not season-ready, but I'm making progress, and that's always good."

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Simmons on his productive 2017

Outfielder Chris Young (strained right calf) and Jefry Marte (right groin tightness) are also expected to play Thursday. Young has yet to make his Cactus League debut this spring, as he tweaked his calf on the second day of full-squad workouts. But he went 2-for-8 with two doubles in the Angels' intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday.

"I was able to run those out, which was nice," Young said. "I felt good."

Shoemaker impresses

Matt Shoemaker delivered one of the best starts by an Angels pitcher this spring on Wednesday, surrendering just one run and striking out seven over five innings in a 7-0 loss to the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

Video: LAA@CLE: Shoemaker fans seven over five strong frames

The 31-year-old right-hander gave up two hits, including a leadoff home run to Tyler Naquin in the third, and walked one in his fourth Cactus League outing, lowering his spring ERA from 10.80 to 7.43. It was a nice rebound for Shoemaker, who had allowed six runs over 3 2/3 innings in his previous start against the Cubs on Friday.

"Just kind of persistence in spring and hard work," Shoemaker said. "In spring, we're all here to get ready. We know that, and that's why you can't focus on results, but we always want results. As competitors, we're always results-driven. We want to win, we want to do well. When that [bad outing] happens, take that, let's build off that and keep going."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Valbuena excused

Luis Valbuena had originally been penciled in to start at third base against the Indians on Wednesday, but he was removed from the lineup because he had to travel to Florida to take a U.S. citizenship test, Scioscia said. Kaleb Cowart started at third in his place.

Camp battle

Jose Alvarez allowed an unearned run on two hits and struck out one in the sixth inning. Cam Bedrosian followed and worked around two walks to post a scoreless seventh. He struck out two. Blake Parker faced eight batters in the eighth and recorded only two outs, allowing five runs on five hits, including a three-run homer to Brandon Barnes. Parker, who finished last season as the Angels' preferred closing option, has yielded nine runs over 4 1/3 innings (18.69 ERA) in five appearances this spring.

Friendly pitching duel

Tyler Skaggs and Nick Tropeano pitched five innings apiece in the Angels' intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday, when the club had a scheduled off-day. Skaggs gave up one run in the first inning and struck out eight, while Tropeano gave up three runs (one unearned) in the first.

"I felt great," Skaggs said. "I felt strong. I felt like I was throwing harder in the last two innings than I was the first two. First inning took me a little bit to lock it in, kind of felt a little weird out there. Not much adrenaline. After they got a few hits, I started locking it in."

Up next: The Angels will play some split-squad action on Thursday, facing the Rockies in Scottsdale at 1:10 p.m. PT before hosting the White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium at 6:10 p.m. PT, which can be watched live on MLB.TV. Andrew Heaney will start against Colorado, with Parker Bridwell pitching the nightcap against Chicago. Scioscia said most of the Angels' regular position players will be in the lineup for the day game.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Andrelton Simmons