Andrew Heaney says Angels practice safety first at all times
As detailed and extensive as baseball’s 2020 operations manual is, the 100-plus-page document doesn’t address the health and safety protocols for avoiding the coronavirus away from stadiums and team hotels.
The Angels attempted to fill that void during a lengthy video conference call in which players, coaches, front-office executives and support staff — a group of about 120 — agreed not to dine in restaurants, go to bars or attend any large gatherings during training camp and the pandemic-shortened 60-game season.
Unlike the debate that rages in the county the team is based in, the Angels reached a consensus on face coverings.
“If you’re not at the field, if you’re not in your car, if you’re not in your house, you need to wear a mask,” pitcher Andrew Heaney said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re in a state that doesn’t enforce it, you’re going to wear a mask. If you’re getting food, get it to go, get it delivered. Don’t go to bars.
Over three lackluster innings in an Angels intrasquad game, Shohei Ohtani walked seven batters and struck out one. He gave up one hit.
“It’s one of those situations where, if you start getting a little crack, it can really expand and wreak havoc in a clubhouse. Everyone understands that risk is real, and we’re trying to do the best we can to cover all those bases.”
As the team’s union representative, Heaney was heavily involved in negotiations between owners and players over pay and health-and-safety protocols. The left-hander said he read every page of the operations manual, trying to “dissect how it would work.” When the Angels gathered for their conference call before training camp, Heaney was among those taking a lead role.
“We came up with some team rules to provide the safest possible environment for everybody,” said Heaney, who is scheduled to start the July 24 season opener at Oakland. “It’s about more than just your own personal health and safety. Just as important is your teammates, the staff, their families and your community.”
The Angels were one of four teams that had to cancel or delay workouts on Monday because of coronavirus testing problems, but Heaney believes that was more of a “one-off” glitch because of the holiday weekend.
“I know different teams have had different experiences,” Heaney said, “but I think everybody here feels pretty safe and comfortable with the way we’re handling things.”
Pitcher Julio Teheran, who signed a one-year, $9-million deal in December, remains quarantined in Atlanta awaiting the results of a coronavirus test he hopes will clear him to join the Angels by this weekend.
Teheran, in a phone interview with ESPN Deportes, said he was ready to go on July 1, but he and other family members had COVID-19 symptoms that forced them to take coronavirus tests.
“I wasn’t feeling good, my whole body was hurting, my back, and we preferred not to take the risk,” Teheran said. “We’re waiting the results today or tomorrow and, if we’re negative, I can travel to Los Angeles this weekend.”
It is unknown whether the absent Angels players tested positive for COVID-19. Teams may not reveal that information without permission from players.
Even if Teheran arrives by the weekend, manager Joe Maddon isn’t sure if the right-hander will be ready for the start of the season.
“We have to get eyeballs on him,” Maddon said. “You would not want to push it or jeopardize” his health by rushing him.
The Angels experimented with fake crowd noise during Wednesday’s intrasquad game at Angel Stadium, adjusting the volume throughout an afternoon in which Griffin Canning looked sharp in a four-inning stint, striking out Mike Trout twice, and David Fletcher and Max Stassi hit homers off Dylan Bundy. … The Angels claimed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Mets and added the right-hander to their 60-man player pool. A sixth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2013, Rhame was traded to New York for Curtis Granderson in 2017. He had a 6.23 ERA in 47 2/3 big-league innings in which his fastball, according to Fangraphs, averaged 95.7 mph. … Outfield prospect Brandon Marsh and left-hander Jose Quijada were placed on the 10-day injured list. No reasons were given for the moves. ... The Angels, according to Baseball America, signed their first undrafted free agent, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo outfielder Elijah Greene.
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