The Matt Harvey situation has provided something of a road map for Tyler Skaggs as the Angels left-hander works his way back from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.
One not to follow.
Harvey, the New York Mets right-hander, sparked a controversy Saturday when he said he is reluctant to surpass a 180-inning limit in his return from the same surgery, a potentially huge blow to the team’s World Series hopes.
Harvey has thrown 166 1/3 innings and is 12-7 with a 2.60 earned-run average to help the Mets take a five-game lead over Washington in the National League East.
The statement caught the Mets front office by surprise. Some players questioned Harvey’s desire to win.
A day later, Harvey wrote in The Players’ Tribune that “there has never been a doubt in my mind: I will pitch in the playoffs. I will be healthy, active and ready to go.”
Skaggs, who was 5-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts in 2014, is nearly 13 months removed from surgery and will not pitch this season. As for an innings limit in 2016, Skaggs said, “We haven’t even crossed that bridge yet.”
And when he does?
“I know for a fact that myself, the doctor, the team and my agent will sit down and talk it through this off-season,” Skaggs said. “I promise you next year it will not go down for me like it is for Matt Harvey.”
Skaggs has had no major setbacks. He has been throwing fastballs in bullpen sessions for more than a month and hopes to begin throwing off-speed pitches next week. He expects to pitch in the instructional league in Arizona in October and be ready next spring.
Matt Shoemaker, scratched from Monday’s start because of a forearm strain, “felt really good” after playing catch for 10 minutes at 90 feet. The right-hander will increase the intensity and distance of his throwing sessions this week, but he won’t know when he’ll return until he throws off a mound.
“I threw fairly easy today,” Shoemaker said. “When you get on it, you can tell if it’s in there a little bit or it it’s gone, and I haven’t done that yet. The sooner I do, the better.”
Second baseman Johnny Giavotella, out since Aug. 21 because of a condition that causes double vision, is taking ground balls, running, throwing and hitting off a tee but has not faced live pitching.
“I’m still getting double vision when I look to my left,” Giavotella said. “It’s getting better slowly but surely. It’s just one of things you can’t work through. You have to be patient until it heals.”
Albert Pujols started at designated hitter after undergoing an MRI test on his sore right foot, the results of which were not immediately available. The first baseman could be relegated to DH for the rest of the season, but he plans to play through the pain.