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Skaggs feeling confident heading into season

Pujols collects three hits vs. Mariners; Ohtani logs at-bats in intrasquad game
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After seeing his career stalled by injuries over the last few years, Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs is finally ready to put it all together.

A former first-round Draft pick, Skaggs was 21 years old when he broke into the Majors with the D-backs in 2012, but his ascent was disrupted by the 2014 Tommy John surgery that cost him nearly two years and other subsequent maladies, including an oblique issue that sidelined him for three months in 2017. Skaggs has been limited to 26 starts since 2015, but the 26-year-old is feeling healthy and ready to capitalize on the promise he's flashed intermittently over the last six years.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After seeing his career stalled by injuries over the last few years, Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs is finally ready to put it all together.

A former first-round Draft pick, Skaggs was 21 years old when he broke into the Majors with the D-backs in 2012, but his ascent was disrupted by the 2014 Tommy John surgery that cost him nearly two years and other subsequent maladies, including an oblique issue that sidelined him for three months in 2017. Skaggs has been limited to 26 starts since 2015, but the 26-year-old is feeling healthy and ready to capitalize on the promise he's flashed intermittently over the last six years.

Spring Training information

"I think it's all up to me," Skaggs said Monday. "Physically, I've been there. I just think mentally, I wasn't mature or ready enough for it yet. Now that I've had so much time off and so much time to look and decide what I want to do on the mound, I think it's all coming together at the right time."

Before the Angels' 8-4 win over the Mariners on Monday night, Skaggs threw 95 pitches over six innings in an intrasquad game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. It marked Skaggs' second consecutive start in a team scrimmage, as the club wanted to ensure he reached the pitch count he needed to be ready for the start of the season.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I think mentally, you've got to keep taking reps," Skaggs said. "At the same time, it's tough facing the same four or five guys each inning. My next start will be against a real team, so I'm excited about it."

The Angels have not yet announced their rotation order to start the season, but Skaggs appears to be lined up to start the second game of the year against the A's in Oakland, a nod to the type of ceiling the club envisions for him.

"I feel strong," Skaggs said. "I feel confident going into the season."

Camp battle

Felix Pena, who is vying for a bullpen spot with the Angels, gave up one run on four hits, including a solo home run to Daniel Vogelbach, while walking one and striking out three over 1 2/3 innings against the Mariners. The 28-year-old right-hander now has a 4.00 ERA this spring, with 15 strikeouts and four walks over nine innings.

"Felix has a big arm," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's really got a good changeup and breaking ball. Once he got settled and started using them, you could see the pitches were working."

Blake Parker's spring woes continued, as he surrendered a solo home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the seventh, bringing his ERA to 16.20 over 6 2/3 innings. Before the game, general manager Billy Eppler had said he wasn't concerned by Parker's results in Cactus League play.

"I've seen him throw some pretty good splits, and the velocity is there," Eppler said. "Just roll with that, what he did last year, but also the integrity of his stuff. Nothing there is sounding an alarm in my head yet."

Good night for Pujols

One day after picking up extra at-bats in a Minor League game, Albert Pujols went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Entering Monday, Pujols had been 7-for-33 (.212) in 13 Cactus League games.

Video: SEA@LAA: Pujols plates Maldonado with his third hit

"We saw it yesterday in the video, and he carried it over today," Scioscia said. "I think he's comfortable in the box. You just know with Albert, it's just a matter of time. The reps he got helped him a lot."

Clutch hitting

The Angels' offense went 7-for-10 with runners in scoring position Monday and scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth against the Mariners.

Video: SEA@LAA: Cozart pours it on with a two-run single

The Ohtani brief

Shohei Ohtani logged nine plate appearances during the intrasquad game Monday, going 2-for-8 with a walk and two strikeouts. Ohtani faced Angels relievers Jim Johnson and Blake Wood, Skaggs and Minor League pitcher Sean Isaac, collecting a single up the middle off Skaggs and a double off Isaac.

"Shohei had some really good swings that indicated good timing, but there were pitches that he fouled off," Scioscia said. "I think he saw the ball well. Hit a couple balls hard. Drew a walk. I think he felt good seeing the ball. Today was a half-step forward for him."

Ohtani, who is 2-for-24 as a left-handed hitter in Cactus League action, is scheduled to be in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the D-backs in Tempe.

Video: Chatting Cage: Eppler on Ohtani buzz around clubhouse

Up next

Parker Bridwell will make his sixth Cactus League outing Tuesday as the Angels host the D-backs at Tempe Diablo Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PT, and the game can be viewed on MLB.TV.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Blake Parker, Felix Pena, Tyler Skaggs