Skaggs wraps first post-surgery season healthy

Angels' lefty feels sharp in short outing vs. Astros

Skaggs wraps first post-surgery season healthy

ANAHEIM -- Tyler Skaggs and the Angels enter the offseason with peace of mind knowing the left-hander is healthy following his first season back from Tommy John surgery.

Skaggs started Saturday night's game after missing three weeks with a strained left forearm. He recorded five outs on 45 pitches and was charged with one run on three hits and two walks in a 3-0 loss to the Astros.

"I wasn't going in with any goal, just kind of going out there and trying to feel good," said Skaggs, who had Tommy John surgery in August 2014. "Granted, you don't want to go out there and walk people. Overall, my arm felt great, so pretty happy about it."

The most important thing to come out of the start was Skaggs' health. He had not pitched since tossing six shutout innings against the Rangers on Sept. 9. The lefty was scratched from his next scheduled start because of the forearm issue, which crept up during his between-starts work, and an MRI exam showed no structural damage to his surgically repaired elbow.

Skaggs used all of his pitches Saturday, another positive sign. He worked around a two-out single in the first inning and made 17 pitches. Skaggs ran into trouble in the second, walking two and allowing two singles before being pulled for Mike Morin.

"He's healthy; that's most important thing," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He maintained his stuff, lost his command a little bit. Some of that is explainable. But all of his pitches looked sharp. He threw them all and came out of it and feels great."

Skaggs will have a normal offseason routine for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. He said he would resume a throwing program sometime in December.

"I will take a lot of time off and be feeling really good coming into next year," he said. "I've been throwing for literally two straight years, so I can't wait."

Skaggs finished the season 3-4 with a 4.17 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 49 2/3 innings. He made 10 starts, four of which were scoreless outings.

"It's had its ups and downs, like everybody said it would," Skaggs said. "Definitely more downs than ups, but the ups that I had were really very, very good, good ups. My arm felt great and all the stuff that I threw out there was really good. I was happy about it. Granted, nobody told me it was going to be this hard of a road coming back, but happy to go out on a high note."

Skaggs said the best part of the year was his season debut against the Royals on July 26, when he fired seven shutout innings to earn the win in his first start coming off surgery.

"It has to be the first one, because you're coming back to the big leagues, you've worked almost two years, pretty much two years to the day, trying to grind as hard as I can to get back to the big leagues," he said. "So, for me, it was very fulfilling."

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.