All signs are that Angels righty Matt Shoemaker is progressing well after being struck in the head by a line drive and requiring surgery to control internal bleeding. The overriding concern, needless to say, is with his long-term health. Fortunately for the hurler, he seems to be improving enough that it is reasonable to consider what kind of path he might take to return to the mound. As Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times writes, Shoemaker has been able to communicate with his family, friends, and teammates throughout the ordeal. Speaking generally on the subject, a neurosurgeon explains that this is a positive sign. Depending upon the specifics and his continued improvement, the 29-year-old will hopefully be able to return to “living normally” in three to six weeks and could plausibly be ready to begin Spring Training on time. MLBTR extends its best wishes to Shoemaker and his family.
Here’s more out of Los Angeles:
- Though we have heard suggestions to the contrary, Moura says that he’s getting the sense that Angels righty Jered Weaver will look to pitch at least one more year. Indications from Weaver and those who know him do not suggest that he is preparing for retirement, says Moura, though his plans could be dependent upon whether he is able to secure a starting job. Weaver has only ever played for the Halos, and GM Billy Eppler has praised his efforts this year, but it remains unclear what kind of interest the team will have in the veteran hurler.
- The Angels’ recent claim of Ashur Tolliver may represent a nice pick-up for the club, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com explains. Multiple other teams put in claims on the southpaw, and scouts tell Kubatko they were surprised the Orioles were willing to put him on the wire. As Kubatko notes, the 28-year-old is something of a late-bloomer who has shown a live arm.
- While the Dodgers’ bullpen-building efforts haven’t always been well-received, the current relief corps appears to be a top-quality unit, ESPN.com’s Doug Padilla writes. Apart from star closer Kenley Jansen, most of the pen pieces aren’t exactly household names and haven’t been used in formalized roles. Manager Dave Roberts continues to mix and match, and now has 13 arms to call upon down the stretch. The skipper’s comments on Joe Blanton, who has been excellent, are indicative of the interesting approach that Los Angeles has relied upon. “Joe’s been great for us, he really has against right-handers and left-handers,” Roberts said. “He’s done some long relief early, he’s pitched in the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth. He’s a guy that has really solidified our bullpen, but it’s not a hard-fast rule that he’s going to be pitching in the eighth. I think that I used Joe in a lot of high-leverage situations and that might come in the seventh.”