Shoemaker happy with location, execution in spring debut

Shoemaker happy with location, execution in spring debut

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After what Matt Shoemaker did last year as a rookie, one might think he enters Spring Training with a sense of security, knowing that finishing runner-up in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting is a pretty good ticket to the following year's rotation.

But that's not how Shoemaker got to the big leagues, and that's not how he's approaching this encore to his spectacular debut season.

"My whole goal this Spring Training is to get ready for the season, and at the same time, competing for a job, no matter who you are or where you're at," Shoemaker said after his first Cactus League outing Sunday, a 6-4 Angels loss to the Royals. "I feel like if I focus on that, it helps me prepare to my best ability for a season."

Shoemaker's first start of this spring was, in a word, interesting. It was delayed by 10 minutes when a swarm of bees descended on the field just before he was to deliver his first pitch, and he wound up allowing a two-run homer to the Royals' Eric Hosmer in the first inning before settling in and getting in his three innings of work, allowing all four of his hits in the first and hitting a batter in the third.

Actually, other than the Hosmer homer, the day went very well for the second-year starter.

"I thought he was great," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Really liked how he made pitches with his fastball. He had good command, was down in the zone, good angle, pitched well with his fastball, brought his offspeed pitches in. A great first outing for him."

The other hits Shoemaker allowed were an infield single, a grounder that got through to the outfield and a double to right by former Angels hitter Kendrys Morales, but that was it. And, ultimately, it's about how he felt and went about his business.

"It's early in spring and we still have a ways to go, so if I was off a bit, I won't beat myself up too much, but I was definitely still happy with the overall location of the pitches, and execution of the pitches," Shoemaker said.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.