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Angels

Angels pitcher Skaggs briefly distracted at first sight of love

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Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws in the first inning during Monday’s baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on June 25.
(John Sleezer / Kansas City Star)

There was no disputing Tyler Skaggs’ focus Monday during his one-run, eight-strikeout innings in Kansas City.

But, a day later, he admitted he was distracted briefly, and it happened during one of those strikeouts.

In the middle of Lucas Duda’s seventh-inning at-bat, a fan seated behind home plate knelt down and proposed to his girlfriend, the commotion resulting in Angels catcher Martin Maldonado stopping to glance over his shoulder.

“I was locked in,” Skaggs said. “But, then again, it did get my attention.”

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The fan was wearing a Mike Trout shirt while the recipient of his question was in Royals attire.

On the pitch immediately after the proposal, Skaggs struck out Duda with a fastball.

“I figured something was up because everybody was cheering loud and there really wasn’t any action going on,” Skaggs said. “I figured she said ‘yes.’ If she had said ‘no,’ no one would be cheering.”

The left-hander couldn’t recall any of his previous starts being disrupted by love. Once in the minors, though, another emotion led to the fans getting the attention of the players.

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“I vividly remember I was in (single-A) Visalia and it was ‘Thirsty Thursday’ when I was pitching,” Skaggs said. “There was a brawl going on in the stands. I remember that. The whole game stopped.”

Trout reports improvement

Trout (right index finger) played catch early Tuesday and reported progress, characterizing his return defensively as “day-to-day.” He later started as the designated hitter for the seventh game in a row.

With Trout limited to only hitting, Albert Pujols has been forced to play extensively at first base of late. He started for the sixth time in eight days and has now 41 starts there.

Should Thursday’s medical evaluation show that Shohei Ohtani could return this season as a hitter, Pujols could be looking at even more time on defense, a situation that has the Angels’ attention.

“He’s holding up very well,” manager Mike Scioscia said of the 38-year-old Pujols. “We’re obviously monitoring how his legs are, how many days in a row he can get out there. But he still thinks of himself as a first baseman.

“We know he can go out there and play first. We definitely have to be sensitive to keeping him strong, especially with his lower body, to do some of the things we know he’s going to do in the batter’s box.”

Richards passes latest test

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Garrett Richards (hamstring) passed the latest test in his return, reporting no problems during his light bullpen session Monday. He’s scheduled to increase the intensity Wednesday … Nick Tropeano (shoulder) has returned to playing catch … Jim Johnson (lumbar) is scheduled to throw off a mound this week … Jefry Marte (wrist) continues with baseball activities.

jeff.miller@latimes.com


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