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Angels’ Andrew Heaney scratched from next start due to troublesome elbow

The Angels’ largely healthy spring took a turn Monday when left-hander Andrew Heaney was ruled out of making his next start because of elbow inflammation.

An MRI revealed no ligament damage. Heaney had the ligament replaced surgically on July 1, 2016.

“I liked what the doctors had to tell me,” general manager Billy Eppler said.

Heaney will be sidelined until the swelling subsides. Though the Angels could provide no timetable for his return, this late in spring training his availability for the start of the season is in question.

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Planning to open with a six-man rotation, the team likely will turn to Nick Tropeano, with Parker Bridwell also an option.

Tropeano on Sunday had the best start by an Angels pitcher this spring. He struck out nine Texas Rangers in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

“Nick was great,” Eppler said. “That was a display of very high pitching IQ.”

Because of his previous elbow injury, Heaney made only six starts over the past two seasons. He has started four games this spring, striking out 14 over 11 2/3 innings.

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The latest issue surfaced last week after Heaney’s most recent appearance. Eppler said the left-hander reported more soreness than usual. Heaney returned to Los Angeles for tests Sunday, with doctors diagnosing the inflammation Monday.

“Anytime a pitcher has a little bump in the road there’s some concern,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think that everything that was evaluated says just that. This is a bump in the road. We’ll get him out on the mound as soon as possible.”

Ohtani gets extra at-bats

Shohei Ohtani had a double and a single in nine plate appearances Monday during an intrasquad game.

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The single came on a 1-2 curveball from Tyler Skaggs, notable in that Ohtani has struggled with breaking pitches and left-handers this spring.

Ohtani originally was going to play in the Angels’ Cactus League game Monday night against Seattle before the team altered his schedule.

“He just needs at-bats,” Scioscia said. “He just needs to go see pitches.”

Ohtani is scheduled to be the designated hitter at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday when the Angels play Arizona at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

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Along with his two hits, he also walked against Skaggs and struck out once apiece facing relievers Jim Johnson and Blake Wood. His double came off Sean Isaac, a minor leaguer.

“I think he saw the ball well,” Scioscia said. “He hit a couple balls hard. I think he felt good seeing the ball. We feel that today was a half-step forward for him.”

jmiller2929@yahoo.com

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