BOSTON -- The Angels had hoped left-hander Tyler Skaggs would be able to return before the All-Star break and provide a significant boost to their starting rotation, but that timetable has now been derailed.Skaggs was scheduled to make his first rehab start in an Arizona League game on Saturday, but
BOSTON -- The Angels had hoped left-hander Tyler Skaggs would be able to return before the All-Star break and provide a significant boost to their starting rotation, but that timetable has now been derailed.
Skaggs was scheduled to make his first rehab start in an Arizona League game on Saturday, but he was scratched after experiencing general soreness in his oblique and abdominal area. Manager Mike Scioscia called Skaggs' setback "disturbing" and "frustrating" on Sunday.
General manager Billy Eppler said Skaggs played catch in Arizona on Sunday and will continue to throw "as tolerated." But Scioscia acknowledged that the delay eliminates Skaggs' chances of returning during the club's three-game series against the Rangers on July 7-9. Asked if Skaggs could still be activated in July, Scioscia said, "I think it's impossible to make any determination now."
Skaggs landed on the disabled list on April 29 with a right oblique strain. Before the injury, the 25-year-old had logged a 3.99 ERA over 29 1/3 innings. The Angels currently have three starters on the shelf, as right-handers Matthew Shoemaker (forearm strain) and Garrett Richards (biceps strain) are also injured.
The Angels called up hot-hitting infielder Kaleb Cowart from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, optioning right-hander Eduardo Paredes to clear a roster spot. The Halos had carried eight relievers after Paredes was added to the roster on Friday, but Scioscia said the club couldn't keep playing with a short bench, particularly with third baseman Yunel Escobar dealing with a left thumb sprain.
Cowart made his season debut with the Angels on Sunday, starting at third base in place of Escobar. The 25-year-old switch-hitter was batting .315 with 19 doubles, seven home runs and 33 RBIs in 68 games with Salt Lake this year.
Cowart hit .176 in 31 games with the Angels in 2016, but Scioscia praised his improved plate discipline and his better approach from the right side this year. In Triple-A, Cowart has hit better against left-handers (.333) than righties (.310).
"Kaleb worked a lot this winter to shorten his swing and try to be a little more consistent in his approach and square balls up a little more," Scioscia said. "I think by him slowing some things down, I think he's seeing the ball better. I think there is a noticeable improvement in the number of walks he's gotten."
Scioscia said Cowart could see time at third, second or first for the Angels.
• Escobar missed his second straight game with the thumb injury, but his condition is improving, and he played catch on the field before Sunday's game.
• Right-hander Bud Norris (right knee inflammation) has been doing "aggressive long toss" and is on track to throw off the mound by mid-week, according to Scioscia. Norris is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday, and the Angels are hopeful that he'll be ready to rejoin the team on that day.
Maria Guardado** covers the Angels for MLB.com.