Angels’ Andrew Heaney expected to return against Red Sox this weekend
An Angels starting rotation that has been in flux all season — and even more so in the wake of Tyler Skaggs’ death July 1 — might finally get a lifeline. Left-handed starter Andrew Heaney is expected to pitch during the weekend series in Boston.
“We obviously have to see how tomorrow feels, to see if everything is good, but that’s my plan,” he said.
Heaney was encouraged by his 64-pitch performance in a simulated game at Great American Ball Park on Monday. None of his offerings caused discomfort in the inflamed left shoulder that landed him on the injured list July 20. Command did not elude him.
“His stuff looked really good, especially the first inning he threw,” said manager Brad Ausmus, who caught the entire outing.
Heaney’s return will not save the Angels’ battered rotation. Felix Pena sustained a season-ending knee injury Saturday, and rookie Griffin Canning was placed on the injured list because of elbow soreness Sunday. But Heaney should provide some stability. When healthy, he has proven himself capable of anchoring a rotation. He was the Angels’ mainstay last year, leading the team with 180 innings and making a career-best 30 starts.
A blister on his big toe interrupts Jaime Barria’s outing and a 103-mph comebacker sends Luke Bard to the dugout early in Angels’ loss to Indians.
The Angels went 2-8 in their previous 10 games entering Monday, dwindling their slim postseason chances. They went into Monday’s game nine games out of wild-card contention and 17 games behind the Houston Astros in the division with only 49 games to go. A playoff berth is likely to escape them for a fifth straight year.
At this point, the Angels need innings. And Heaney is the best option for the task.
Right-handed reliever Luke Bard was placed on the injured list after taking a come-backer to his right triceps in Sunday’s loss. He could not fully extend his arm Monday but wasn’t worried about long-term effects of being hit above the elbow. ... Canning will be shut down from throwing until the minor soreness in his elbow clears. Ausmus does not expect the 23-year-old to be down for long. ... Pena, who will undergo surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee once swelling subsides, was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for Mission Viejo native Patrick Sandoval on the 40-man roster. The left-handed Sandoval pitched Monday after Taylor Cole opened the game. It was planned that Sandoval would pitch before Pena got hurt.
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