Still Hobbled, Skaggs Returns From Ankle Injury

LOS ANGELES—Concern recently has surrounded lefthander Tyler Skaggs of Santa Monica High (locally known as Samohi). The lanky lefty has not pitched in two weeks, due to a badly sprained ankle. He gamely threw Tuesday, losing a 3-1 decision to Los Altos High of Hacienda Heights. While Skaggs did not alleviate all worries, he did show flashes of his early season stuff.

The ankle injury distinctly affected Skaggs’ fastball. That pitch sat at 88, down from its peak of 91-92 early in the year. A stiff and bulky brace prevented Skaggs from any movement or flexion in his left (drive) ankle.

In fact, as he drove off the rubber, Skaggs picked up his back foot almost instantly, losing any leg or lower half momentum any push and drive action would give him. That seemed to affect his arm action as well, which as a bit crimped on the back end instead of his usual “buggy whip.”

All things considered, Skaggs pitched well, striking out nine in seven innings. Physical limitations prevented him from getting movement on his fastball or locating it, and that pitch was hit hard several times during the game.

However, his curve was extremely sharp. Skaggs’ 66 mph curve starts at the level of his cap and then appears to pause in midair for a moment before sharply dropping down into the strike zone.

At the beginning of this season, Skaggs had brilliant outings against Westlake and Royal High and in the Anaheim Lions tournament. Tuesday’s start indicated that once his ankle heals completely, he should have no difficulty in regaining that edge.