The Angels announced today that left-hander Andrew Heaney has been placed on the disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his left forearm (Twitter link). As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes, Heaney’s velocity dipped from 93-94 mph in the first inning of last night’s season debut to 90-91 mph in the second inning, and he was working at 88-89 mph by the end of his six innings. Heaney complained of some “tightness” in his left forearm following the outing.
While forearm tightness is an ominous ailment, as it’s often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets that doctors have assured the Angels that Heaney’s ulnar collateral ligament is healthy. In regards to the possibility of Tommy John, GM Billy Eppler told Gonzalez (Twitter link): “All I can say is that with the muscle strain, you’d rather hear the word muscle than ligament.” Gonzalez also tweets that an initial clinical exam showed Heaney’s UCL to be in good shape, and a followup MRI confirmed that diagnosis. The MLB.com scribe adds that there’s no timetable for Heaney to resume throwing, though Fletcher tweets that Eppler says Heaney will rest his arm for a couple of weeks before the club proceeds.
While the fact that Heaney appears positioned to avoid a catastrophic injury is good news for the Angels, the absence of their No. 2 starter from an already injury-ravaged rotation is disconcerting all the same. Anaheim already has C.J. Wilson on the disabled list, and with Heaney joining him, they’re left with Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker and Jered Weaver, the latter of whom has had his own physical issues and been struggling to get his velocity even into the mid-80s this spring. Nick Tropeano will likely be recalled to replace Heaney on the roster and in the rotation, and lefty Tyler Skaggs could eventually emerge as an option. Those options aside, losing Heaney for any significant amount of time would be a blow to an Angels roster that entered the season with a number of question marks.