Angels remind Skaggs he won't return this year
ANAHEIM -- They knew Tyler Skaggs was nearing his first bullpen session and they figured he'd start to get really excited, so just in case he had forgotten, the Angels' trainers and pitching coach Mike Butcher about a month ago gave the 23-year-old left-hander a reminder: You're not pitching this year, no matter what.
Skaggs underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2014 and was expected to miss the entire '15 season. The Angels felt Skaggs was too young and important to the organization to rush his rehab. At one point, he clung to the slimmest of hopes that he could help out in some capacity down the stretch, but the Angels quickly shot that down.
Skaggs was admittedly disappointed.
"But it's exciting knowing that I'm in their plans for the future," he said. "They really want me to be healthy and ready to go next year. I think they're looking to me and just really want me to work hard and contribute to the team next year."
Skaggs threw his second bullpen session on Friday afternoon, a 30-pitch, all-fastball workout in which his catcher was 40 feet away for the first 20 and the full 60 feet away for the last 10. The first one occurred on June 15. Skaggs is supposed to throw twice per week, but he was too amped up during his first one.
"I was throwing harder than they wanted me to," Skaggs said. "That's why they opted to give me extra time, like, 'Dude, calm down.'"
Skaggs will get back to the routine of two bullpen sessions a week for five more weeks. Then he'll be shut down for two weeks, as he has after every six-week interval of throwing this season. Then he'll start his throwing progression all over again before hopefully facing hitters by late August or early September.
It won't happen in the Major Leagues, though.
• Angels shortstop Erick Aybar exited Friday's game midway through the top of the seventh with some tightness in his left hamstring, the same ailment that forced him to miss a couple of games in late May. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he was removed for precautionary reasons, that Aybar's status was day to day and added that Aybar's hamstring loosened up later that night.
• Jered Weaver played light catch Friday, five days after being placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left hip. The right-hander will probably need to play long toss from 180 feet before getting off a mound again. Factoring in off-days, Weaver can return as late as July 21 and miss only two turns through the rotation. He doesn't think he'll require a rehab assignment, "But I just work here," he said.
• Cesar Ramos, with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP, started the season matching up against left-handed hitters but has been used in mop-up duty a few times lately. Ramos begrudgingly pitched in that role with the Rays the last few years, but has no issues with it here, saying: "It's just what it is. The other guys they have ahead of me are pretty freaking good. That's out of my control. I just need to stay ready."
• The Angels inked 12th-round pick Dalton Blumenfeld to a $250,000 signing bonus, two and a half times the slot value. Blumenfeld is a 6-foot-3, right-handed-hitting catcher who was drafted out of Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. The Angels have agreed to terms with each of their first 19 picks.