Pitching in ALDS a real possibility for Shoemaker

Pitching in ALDS a real possibility for Shoemaker

SEATTLE -- Matt Shoemaker continues to make progress as he recovers from a strained left oblique, an injury that has clouded his availability for the American League Division Series over the last 11 days.

The 27-year-old rookie played catch for the fifth consecutive day prior to Friday's series opener against the Mariners, backing up to about 150 feet after throwing from 110 feet during the off-day on Thursday.

Shoemaker said that his encouragement level "has been much better, because it feels much better, and it keeps getting better and better."

Pitching coach Mike Butcher feels "very confident" that Shoemaker can be available for the ALDS, though he'll have to throw an aggressive bullpen session before then.

"He's getting better every day," Butcher said. "Just keep progressing on an everyday basis, see how he feels every day coming into it, then once we get to a point where he feels like he's getting after it on flat ground, maybe do some one-hop drills, get him on the mound, and that's really the big task right there."

Josh Hamilton -- limited to one game since Sept. 4 due to ailments in his right shoulder, chest and ribcage -- did some defensive work before Friday's game and will resume swinging a bat on Saturday.

Hamilton isn't expected to play this weekend, but he could see some pitching either in a simulated game in Anaheim or in the instructional league in Tempe, Ariz., next week.

"He has to see some velocity, whether it's done in a simulated environment, just to get some perspective of velocity," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He did it in Spring Training when he pulled his calf muscle -- got into a game and was very comfortable. He will see velocity in some form."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.