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OC Register: Angels’ Tyler Skaggs enjoying healthy, successful start to season


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ANAHEIM — At the intersection of health and experience, Tyler Skaggs is enjoying the best extended stretch of work in his career.

Heading into his ninth start of the season, on Thursday, Skaggs has posted a 3.07 ERA and he’s pitched 44 innings, tops on the team.

“It feels good,” he said. “If you look at my career before I got over here and had Tommy John, I didn’t miss a start ever. It feels good and normal. It feels like what I’ve always done.”

Since the Angels acquired Skaggs in the winter before the 2014 season – reacquiring a player they drafted and then traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks – Skaggs has enjoyed a few good months. Mostly, his successes have been interrupted by injuries or ineffectiveness.

He missed almost two entire years – from August 2014 to July 2016 – rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and a subsequent shoulder injury.

Skaggs, 26, hasn’t had an arm injury since, having missed time last year with an oblique injury.

With the injuries behind him, he’s working on a run of consistently strong performances. He said part of his success is attributable to the development of his changeup – a new pitch this year – and a two-seam fastball.

“The curve and the four-seamer have always been there,” he said. “If you’re two-dimensional, they have a 50-percent chance of being right. I think once I started throwing the changeup, it’s opened up a lot of avenues for me.”

Skaggs has thrown his changeup 10 percent of the time, but hitters are batting .143 against it. They are hitting .177 against his two-seamer, which he’s thrown 15 percent of the time.

Skaggs had had a good start to his season while pitching in a rotation that has been in flux, with the order often jumbled as they try to give the starters extra rest and work in Shohei Ohtani, who is on a different schedule.

“It would be nice to have a set schedule, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “The team is pitching well right now. That’s all that matters.”

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