Skaggs' progression impresses Perez

Angels lefty appears to have recovered from Tommy John surgery

July 23rd, 2016

HOUSTON -- witnessed ' progression from a unique vantage point.

Perez caught Skaggs in Spring Training, when Skaggs was familiarizing himself with throwing off a mound in the wake of August 2014 Tommy John surgery. Then Skaggs suffered a setback, was shut down for two months, began building himself back up, and Perez caught him again -- when Skaggs put together back-to-back dominant starts for Triple-A Salt Lake.

"He was totally different," said Perez, who was recalled from the Minor Leagues prior to Saturday's game. "He looked really good."

With Perez behind the plate in his last two starts, Skaggs threw 12 2/3 scoreless innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, giving up only two hits and issuing just three walks. His 26 strikeouts tied for the most in a two-game stretch in Salt Lake Bees history.

The 25-year-old left-hander threw his fastball mostly 91-92 mph and featured a sharp curveball, a pitch he struggled to command in the early stages of his return to pitching.

"What he used most was fastball-curveball, and he controlled them really well," Perez said. "He was able to command both of those pitches really well and throw them in any count. He was aggressive with his fastball, too. He wasn't afraid to throw it. It was fun."

Skaggs' next step will likely be to rejoin the Angels' rotation and start at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, five days before the two-year anniversary of his last Major League start.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia has yet to commit to Skaggs rejoining the rotation, but that's only because he wants to make sure he comes out of his Sunday bullpen session with no pain.

Besides that, Skaggs is ready.

"Of course he is," Perez said. "I caught him these last two starts and he showed that he is ready, but that decision is up to them."

Worth noting

• Perez was sent down mainly to regain some confidence in the batter's box and wound up going 11-for-31 with five extra-base hits. Perez took the roster spot of , an 11-year Minor League journeyman who never made his Major League debut in his four days on the active roster. With (left knee) on the disabled list, Perez figures to get most of the playing time at catcher. is the backup.

• Scioscia said veteran starter , mired in a long-relief role all month, "showed in a couple starts that he can be an effective Major League starter, and that he has the ability to come out of the 'pen and do what he did last week against Texas. Or see if his stuff plays up, even if it's in a shorter burst. It's almost like . He threw a little harder a couple of years ago and is trying to find a balance."