Skaggs clears 'big hurdle' with sim game

Rehabbing lefty scheduled to pitch in Minor League game Thursday

Skaggs clears 'big hurdle' with sim game

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs took a key step in his return from Tommy John surgery on Saturday, pitching two innings in a simulated game.

Skaggs faced teammates Jefry Marte and Ji-Man Choi on a back field. He threw 30 pitches, using his full repertoire. Manager Mike Scioscia described the outing as "terrific."

"It's a big step for me, a big hurdle to get out there and watch these guys swing and actually hit the pitches that I'm throwing," Skaggs said. "Mentally, we jumped over a hurdle today. I felt really good. I'm very happy about it."

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Skaggs last faced hitters on July 31, 2014, a game in which he left a no-hit bid in the fifth inning at Baltimore. He had surgery on his left elbow shortly thereafter.

Saturday was just another step in the long rehab process, Skaggs said. He didn't lose any sleep in anticipation of it.

"When the first game comes, that will be the day I don't sleep," he said. "I'm talking the first game in the big leagues. A Minor League rehab doesn't count; that's not a real game."

Skaggs will next pitch in a Minor League game on Thursday. He very briefly lobbied for that appearance to be in a Cactus League game. That debate lasted one second, he said.

"They're not going to listen to me," said Skaggs, who will start the season on the disabled list, but could return by mid-to-late April.

Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.