Nick Tropeano signed a lease for an apartment in Salt Lake City this week. He and fellow Angels prospect Jett Bandy had picked out a place to spend the season with the Angels’ triple-A affiliate.
Now, he must find a way out. Tropeano returned to Anaheim on Thursday as injured left-hander Andrew Heaney’s replacement in the Angels’ rotation and figures to remain in the majors for at least a few weeks.
The 25-year-old right-hander had been scheduled to start Friday night for the Salt Lake Bees. Now, he’ll make his first start of the season Monday in Oakland against the Athletics.
Heaney acknowledged discomfort in his left arm after his Tuesday start against the Chicago Cubs, and a MRI exam Wednesday found a strain in the soft tissue of his forearm. During the game, he had told pitching coach Charles Nagy that he felt fine despite a noticeable drop in his velocity.
“I know injuries happen, especially to pitchers, but it’s a little embarrassing to feel like this after one game,” the Angels’ No. 2 starter said. “It’s frustrating in that sense.”
Heaney first felt the strain during the second inning, at the same time he suffered a nosebleed that necessitated a delay in the game. He said it was not painful, only tight and mildly uncomfortable.
“It sucks,” he said. “I felt so good in the spring, and I thought I was going to be relied upon. It’s not like, ‘Hey, rookie, give us what you got.’ It’s like, ‘Hey, we need you to pitch well, and we know you can pitch well.’”
Manager Mike Scioscia said that the Angels would be “ultra-conservative” with Heaney, a 24-year-old who had a 3.49 earned-run average in 18 starts last season.
“Hopefully, this will heal in a relatively quick manner,” Scioscia said.
Veteran catcher Geovany Soto started for the first time Thursday as part of a playing-time split with Carlos Perez, who’s in his second season. It’s unclear how their starts will be determined, although Scioscia noted that Soto hit left-handed pitching better last season.
“You’ve got to consider a number of things,” Scioscia said. “But the offense is not going to trump the defense. We need the catcher in there that is going to be comfortable working with the pitcher. Then you can look toward the other things, as far as trying to get more offense.”
Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter: @pedromoura