With a sore forearm and a lost season combining to kill any sense of urgency, the Angels are skipping Jered Weaver's turn in the rotation tonight against Seattle at home due to forearm stiffness. Starting in Weaver's place will be recent AAA callup Matt Shoemaker.
Matt Shoemaker turns 27 years old next Friday, the 27th of September. He was born the day after the 1986 Angels clinched the American League West title. Shoemaker signed as a free agent with the Angels after nobody drafted him out of Eastern Michigan University - seriously, he played in a collegiate summer league after nobody took him in the June, 2008 draft and was signed by the Angels.
The 6'2" righthander is most famous in the Angels minor leagues for one heck of a beard. The AA-level Arkansas Travellers had a Shoemaker tee shirt giveaway to start the 2011 playoffs:
The Travs host the first game of the post season and Texas League Pitcher of the Year Matt Shoemaker will be on the mound tonight. The first 1,000 fans to the ballpark get a free Matt Shoemaker Removeable Goatee so you too can look like a flame-throwing ace.
One season AFTER Shoemaker had been promoted to Triple-A. The press release form that evening read:
The 2nd annual Strike Out Stroke Night at Dickey-Stephens Park celebrating stroke survivors presented by One Vision Solutions, UAMS, Arkansas Department of Health and AR Saves. Learn how to recognize the signs of a stroke and the first 1,000 adults get a free Matt Shoemaker Goatee Face T-Shirt!
The name for that is "popularity" and we will see if it translates to the major leagues.
He pitched two complete seasons in Salt Lake City. the numbers in that high-altitude park are always inflated, but the one great stat that stands out in his repertoire is K/BB rate of 5.5 - that is five and a half strikeouts for every walk issued. That is pretty good.
Weaver is expected to take his regular turn in the rotation on Wednesday against the Athletics in Anaheim. If plans go to schedule tonight will be Shoemaker's only start of the season for the Halos. He will be the 26th player to pitch for the club in 2013.