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Shoemaker 'terrific,' comfortable in start
By Doug Miller
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It looks more and more like Matt Shoemaker's all the way back.
The Angels starter continued a spring tear Tuesday that is more impressive than even the numbers indicate, considering he suffered a season-ending skull fracture and had emergency brain surgery after being hit by a 105-mph line drive in a game in Seattle last September.
Shoemaker, who pitched with a protective plate fitted into his cap, was perfect against the first 11 batters he faced in an 8-4 loss to the Royals. He finished with four scoreless, one-hit innings throwing just 44 pitches. He was so underworked that he went to the bullpen and threw 20 more just to get to his prescribed pitch count.
"Shoe was terrific," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he was ahead. I think he used all of his pitches, which he wanted to do. … He just did what he does. When he had a chance to put guys away, he didn't waste pitches. He put them away, and he was very effective and very efficient."
Shoemaker struggled at the beginning of spring, pitching to a 9.00 ERA through five innings. On Tuesday, he said his sharpness had him thinking about more than fine-tuning, but he remembered why these games are for exhibition only.
"Results are results, but [it's more about] putting up zeros, getting guys out, getting quick outs," Shoemaker said. "That being said, somebody'd be lying to you if they said, 'You don't want zeros.' Everybody wants that.
"But it's a little more relaxed in spring, because you're working on stuff. We're results-oriented as players, but the more we focus on results as a team, the better we're going to be."
And the Angels know they're incrementally better with a healthy Shoemaker, who looks as happy as ever back in his element.
"Just continuing the process of spring," Shoemaker said with a smile. "Getting ready.
"I feel like we're doing that in a very positive way."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.