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Angels

Angels pitcher Matt Harvey rejoins team as his rehabilitation continues

Minnesota Twins v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Angels pitcher Matt Harvey walks into the dugout after giving up six runs in the first inning to the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium on May 23.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

His travel itinerary called for a trip to the Angels complex in Tempe, where pitcher Matt Harvey was scheduled to wait this week in between rehabilitation outings. But after the death of teammate Tyler Skaggs, Harvey altered his plans to meet the team in Arlington, Texas, and accompany the group for the first-half finale at Minute Maid Park.

“Being alone and not being with the guys, I wanted to be here with them,” Harvey said before Friday’s game against the Houston Astros.

Held out of big league games since late May because of a strained muscle in his upper back, Harvey indicated he was expected to make another rehab start for triple-A Salt Lake this weekend. Manager Brad Ausmus said Harvey might rejoin the rotation after the All-Star break if he is deemed ready.

“When you’re making changes, you’re never sure how quickly they take to it,” Ausmus said. “It’s just a wait and see. He’s got another building block on Sunday.”

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Harvey (2-4, 7.50 earned-run average) logged four innings for class-A Inland Empire on Tuesday. He pronounced himself pleased with his fastball velocity, which reached 94 mph. The pitch was clocked between 88-90 mph during an outing with Salt Lake on June 8.

Harvey has struggled to maintain fastball velocity since undergoing thoracic outlet surgery in 2016. He spent a portion of June in Tempe working with the team’s developmental staff to determine the source of his lost speed. Harvey said it related to the clunkiness of his delivery, which was preventing him from generating the necessary torque to produce velocity.

“We found out that my body was not moving properly to throw the baseball at optimal speeds,” Harvey said. “We’ve started working on some throwing drills and drills in the weight room that really kind of opened the hips and created a separation in the hips. That’s been healthy. We’ve gotten real good feedback from some of the new technology that’s come out. It seems to work so we’re going to stick with it.”

Little has gone right for Harvey in his tenure as an Angel. General manager Billy Eppler deemed him worthy of an $11 million offer this winter. Harvey has not completed a season with an ERA below 4.86 since 2015. Harvey expressed his hope that his recent mechanical alterations will aid his cause.

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“This game is hard enough as it is,” Harvey said. “If you have 10 different thoughts going through your head to try to get the guy, it’s just not going to come out right. Being able to work through that and go attack hitters is how every pitcher knows how to throw. It’ll hopefully be a lot more successful.”

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UPTON HELD OUT OF LINEUP

Outfielder Justin Upton (quadriceps tightness) was not in the starting lineup for the second game in a row, but Ausmus said he might return Saturday.

Upton was slated to complete some running drills before the game, and informed Ausmus that his quadriceps was no longer bothering him.

Upton has posted an .806 on-base plus slugging percentage since making his 2019 debut on June 17. He missed the first two months of the season with turf toe.

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

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