Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney has ceased throwing as he attempts to recover from the strained flexor tendon that has kept him away from the mound the last two weeks. His manager, Mike Scioscia, said Tuesday that Heaney has hit a "plateau."
"No real setbacks," Scioscia said, "but it's moving at its own pace."
Heaney, placed on the disabled list April 6, explained Tuesday that he began playing catch last week. He light-tossed once, and it felt fine. He went to about 50 feet a second time, and he felt a bit tight. The third time he tried, over the weekend, he felt tightness and tenderness.
"So they said, 'Listen, you can only get worse from here. You can't get any better trying to throw through it,' " Heaney said of the team's medical staff. "Let's go ahead and shut it down and re-evaluate it and make sure that we're 100% when we start getting back on it.'"
Heaney said the inflammation in his forearm has subsided, but some remains closer to his elbow. The intention is to wait for that, too, to subside. It's unclear how long that'll take. In the interim, the 24-year-old will do the same exercises he normally does, in the hope that will accelerate his return once he can play catch again.
"Once I can get throwing, I feel like it's not going to take me long," Heaney said. "Because I'm going to keep my body in shape and be ready to go."
Scioscia said the team does not want Heaney to force his way through anything uncomfortable.
"It's way better than it was when he first did it, but it's not to the point where you can get a definite timeline for where his long toss might be and when he gets on the mound," Scioscia said.
As the extra innings piled Sunday in Minneapolis, Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy reminded Scioscia several times that utility infielder Cliff Pennington had thrown 92 mph during the playoffs last year for Toronto.
The Angels ran out of relievers when they turned to closer Huston Street in the 12th inning. But Pennington was never in serious consideration to pitch if the game continued, Scioscia said. The plan was for Street to pitch through the 13th, and Hector Santiago to enter if needed thereafter.
Told earlier this year that Scioscia had never used a position player as a pitcher, Pennington laughed.
"Well, he's never had a good one," he said. "So maybe now he will."
Left-hander C.J. Wilson continues to throw at the Angels' spring-training facility in Arizona and is encouraged by his progress, per Scioscia.
Backup catcher Geovany Soto has exclusively caught Santiago and Jered Weaver so far this season, but that will soon change, Scioscia said, as the team mixes up the assignments for Soto and catcher Carlos Perez.