The Angels issued a pair of unpleasant health updates Tuesday, revealing that right-hander Blake Wood will require the second Tommy John surgery of his career. Meanwhile, right-hander Matt Shoemaker has already undergone forearm surgery — specifically, a nerve decompression and a pronator teres tendon repair. Wood, obviously, will be out the remainder of the 2018 season and a significant portion of the 2019 season. As for Shoemaker, the Angels merely announced that “additional information will be provided when appropriate.”
The outlook on Shoemaker looks to subtract a second rotation piece from the rotation for the foreseeable future. J.C. Ramirez has already undergone Tommy John surgery and won’t pitch again this season. For the time being, that leaves the Angels with a rotation mix of Shohei Ohtani, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Jaime Barria, Nick Tropeano and Parker Bridwell atop the depth chart. While those are certainly seven capable starters, there’s no shortage of recent injury issues among the group, either.
It’ll be the second straight season in which Shoemaker has undergone surgery to address a nerve issue in his forearm. While the righty has shown to be a plenty capable rotation arm at times in the big leagues — he logged a 3.80 ERA in 431 1/3 innings from 2014-16 — he’s never made more than 27 starts in a season and has never topped 160 innings as a Major Leaguer. While the Angels surely hope to see him return to the roster by season’s end, Shoemaker’s lack of durability makes it difficult to count on him for any meaningful contributions moving forward.
Wood, 32, joined the Angels via waiver claim last season and has posted a 3.77 ERA with 32 strikeouts against 11 walks in 28 2/3 innings out of the Halos’ bullpen. However, he landed on the DL with an elbow impingement late in April, which eventually prompted further testing and eventually revealed the UCL damage.
Now, with surgery to address that damage set for this Friday, it appears that the injury could ultimately spell the end of Wood’s time with the Angels. Wood entered the season with five years, 131 days of MLB service time, meaning he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. He’ll finish out the season on the 60-day DL, and while he could certainly return to the Halos on a minor league deal, he’ll also be able to gauge interest from all 30 clubs on the open market.