Posted on April 4, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The baseball season is less than a week old, but the Los Angeles Angels are already having trouble keeping their pitchers healthy. The Angels placed Matt Shoemaker on the 10-day DL Tuesday night with a forearm strain. Shoemaker joins fellow starter Andrew Heaney on the injured list. The Angels of called up Parker Bridwell to take Shoemaker’s spot in the rotation.
Shoemaker got the win in his first start of the season, giving up three runs over 5.2 innings against the Oakland A’s. However, he started to feel some pain in his forearm toward the end of the outing. That pain then got worse after the game.
“I started feeling a little bit of achiness, but nothing that was even a red flag,” explains Shoemaker. “Less than mild. I wasn’t even concerned with it. Later that night and the next day, I just kind of felt worse than previously.”
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Shoemaker is yet to undergo an MRI on the forearm, so the diagnosis of forearm strain could change. However, there is reason for Shoemaker to be concerned about any soreness in his arm. After making 14 starts last season, Shoemaker hit the DL in July with a forearm extensor strain. A month later, he underwent surgery to release the radial nerve in his forearm, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
“That did fix it from then until essentially now,” Shoemaker said of the surgery. “We don’t even know if that’s what it is now. The symptoms are a similar feeling. Where they decompressed that tunnel, that’s completely clear, so maybe scar tissue from the procedure is in the area. We have to do all this stuff to figure out what it is.”
The loss of Shoemaker to the DL and the uncertainty around his injury is an early-season setback for the Angels. The club has seen their rotation decimated by injuries in recent years. They were optimistic heading into the season that if they could keep their starters healthy, they would remain relevant in the playoff race. But their rotation depth is already being challenged.
“Sometimes these things still crop up,” says Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “You never have a team that goes through less than six to nine or 10 starters throughout a season at some point. Hopefully we’ll get guys throwing the ball the way they can and keep them healthy. That’s what we anticipate.”
With Shoemaker out for the time being, Bridwell will take his scheduled start on Friday. Bridwell went 10-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 20 starts for the Angels last season. However, a rough spring training forced the Angels to send him back to the minors, at least until the loss of Shoemaker.
The Angels had originally hoped to use a six-man rotation this season to help give their starters extra rest and hopefully prevent injury. But with both Shoemaker and Heaney on the DL, the Angels needed to call up Bridwell to give them a fifth starter. On the bright side, Heaney is working his way back, while Nick Tropeano is available in triple-A as additional depth. However, the fact that Shoemaker gives the Angels a second starter on the DL less than a week into the season isn’t a good sign considering their past issues with injuries to their rotation.