Angels’ right-hander Matt Shoemaker has already missed 51 days with a nagging forearm injury, and now he appears to be weighing season-ending surgery to fix the problem for good. The 30-year-old was tossing a bullpen session on Friday when he “felt something,” reports the Los Angeles Times’ Pedro Moura, and started to consider the possibility of surgery after consulting with a team doctor. The recovery process falls right around two months, which would keep Shoemaker off the mound for the remainder of the regular season and, depending on the outcome of the AL wild card race, potentially prevent him from pitching again until spring training.
The Angels’ righty initially sustained a right forearm strain following an outing against the Yankees in June, and experienced a setback in his rehab process after he was diagnosed with posterior interosseous nerve syndrome in early July. This isn’t his first run-in with a major injury; he was sidelined through the last month of the 2016 season after suffering a skull fracture and hematoma on a wayward line drive. Through 77 2/3 innings in 2017, he’s 6-3 with a 4.52 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 in 14 starts.
It’s a serious blow to the Angels’ rotation, albeit not one that necessarily puts them out of postseason contention. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (oblique strain) is scheduled to return from the disabled list to start against the Athletics on Saturday, while Andrew Bailey (shoulder inflammation) and Andrew Heaney (Tommy John surgery) began Triple-A rehab assignments this week and Garrett Richards (biceps strain) threw a 20-pitch bullpen on Friday, though he’s not a sure bet to return to the club’s pitching staff this season.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.