The Angels have designated outfielder Todd Cunningham for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who will return to a big league mound for the first time in nearly two years tonight, per Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times (Twitter link).
Skaggs, 25, looked to be establishing himself as a long-term cog in the Halos’ rotation back in 2014 before a torn UCL presented him with the dreaded Tommy John roadblock. He underwent the procedure late in the 2014 season and spent all of 2015 rehabbing. While the team clearly hoped that Skaggs would return sooner than late July, his rehabilitation was slowed by tendinitis in his biceps, among other minor maladies. He’s been dominant since rebooting his rehab assignment in Triple-A, though, logging a 1.19 ERA with an eye-popping 35-to-3 K/BB ratio across 22 2/3 innings that spanned four starts. In his final pair of rehab starts — a total of 12 2/3 innings — Skaggs punched out 26 batters. He’ll give the Angels a much-needed option in the rotation, as the club has lost three pitchers — Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano — to torn UCLs this season and also lost C.J. Wilson to shoulder surgery before ever he ever threw a pitch.
Cunningham, 27, received 29 plate appearances for the Halos this season and batted .148/.179/.259. The former Braves farmhand is a .207/.256/.264 hitter in 130 big league plate appearances and a .276/.348/.368 batter in nearly 1700 appearances at the Triple-A level. He’s capable of playing all three outfield positions and has spent a fair amount of time at each outfield slot in 2016 while playing in Triple-A.