MLB Team Report - Los Angeles Angels - INSIDE PITCH

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (mild left oblique strain) and left fielder Josh Hamilton (sore right ribcage) each took another step forward in their quest to recover from late-season injuries.

Shoemaker played soft catch for the first time since being injured during his Sept. 15 start against Seattle and having to leave the game.

"It's less sore than it has been, so I know it's going in the right direction," said Shoemaker, who is 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he's "very encouraged" that Shoemaker will be ready to pitch in the postseason.

"But you're not going to know until he gets on a mound and turns it loose, and that's still a little ways away," Scioscia said before the Angels' 8-4 loss to Oakland.

Scioscia called the chances of Shoemaker making an appearance before the regular season ends "very remote."

"Given where we're at in the season with us in the playoffs, we're just trying to play it smart," Shoemaker said, "but I also want to get going as soon as possible, too. That's kind of how we're weighing everything."

Hamilton, who hasn't played in a game since Sept. 16 against Seattle, took swings Monday off a batting tee.

"Josh actually feels pretty good today," Scioscia said. "We're encouraged. He hasn't really gotten into total baseball activities where you're going to have a huge opportunity to read where he is, but he's starting to swing again, which is a good sign."

The Angels believe there's a chance Hamilton could return to action before the end of the regular season, and he hopes he can play Wednesday in the series-finale against Oakland.

"I don't know," Scioscia said of a Wednesday return. "He gets a little bit aggressive. We'll wait and see where he is in working out tomorrow."


MLB Team Report - Los Angeles Angels - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 96-61

STREAK: Lost two

NEXT: Angels (LHP Wade LeBlanc, 0-1, 5.24 ERA) at Athletics (RHP Sonny Gray, 13-9, 3.28 ERA)


--LHP C.J. Wilson gave up six runs, four of them earned, on two hits and lasted just two-thirds of an inning Monday in an 8-4 loss to Oakland. Wilson (13-10) walked four batters and threw 35 pitches, just 12 of them for strikes.