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Andrew Heaney might be two rehab starts away from rejoining Angels

Andrew Heaney might be two rehab starts away from rejoining Angels
Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney sits in the dugout during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in May 2018. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Left-hander Andrew Heaney might not need much more time before he can rejoin the Angels’ rotation. Manager Brad Ausmus said Saturday that Heaney may only need to make one more rehab start after the next one, which is scheduled to take place at an undetermined minor league affiliate on Wednesday.

Heaney has been on the injured list recovering from elbow inflammation all season. His return would be a boon to the Angels’ rotation, which has struggled to perform with any of the consistency Heaney offered when he led the staff with 30 starts and 180 innings in 2018.

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Heaney first experienced discomfort in his elbow in early March. He was shut down from throwing later that month, then encountered a second setback days before the start of the season. A cortisone shot in early April relieved most of the pain, but he still needed some time to get back to throwing form.

Heaney faced hitters in simulated situations for the first time a week ago. He threw 44 pitches in a three-inning outing at extended spring training on Saturday. He will throw 45 pitches again in his next outing.

Pitchers usually need to stretch out to about 75 pitches before making a regular season start, but it seems Heaney could return a little sooner. Going by Ausmus’ optimistic timeline, Heaney would rejoin the Angels rotation during the final week of May.

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