Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney won’t make his season debut until around May 25 at the earliest, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Heaney will throw a three-inning, 45-pitch minor league rehab game Wednesday, and he’ll need to log a minimum of one more outing after that prior to his activation, according to manager Brad Ausmus.
With Shohei Ohtani unable to pitch this year, Heaney arguably ranks as the Angels’ top starter. The 27-year-old made a case for that distinction last season when he amassed 180 innings of 4.15 ERA/3.99 FIP ball over 30 starts. It was a career year for Heaney, a former star prospect whom injuries and inconsistency have stunted since he made his big league debut with the Marlins in 2014. He’s currently on the mend from issues in his elbow, which has endured “chronic changes.” Fortunately, though, the problem hasn’t forced the onetime Tommy John surgery patient to return to the operating table.
Thanks in part to Heaney’s absence, the Angels are sporting a weak 19-20 record, though they have gone on a 10-4 run since sitting a season-worst seven games below .500 through 25 games. The Halos’ Heaney- and Ohtani-less rotation sits second last in the majors in ERA and FIP, largely because free-agent additions Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill haven’t justified the team’s investments in them yet. Meanwhile, holdover Tyler Skaggs and Felix Pena have been mixed bags, 2018 rookie standout Jaime Barria hasn’t been a factor, and Chris Stratton opened his Angels tenure in ugly enough fashion for the team to jettison him after just five starts. However, along with Heaney’s forthcoming return, there could be hope in the form of righty Griffin Canning. The well-regarded prospect, 23, excelled at the Triple-A level to begin the year and has since shown flashes of brilliance in his first two major league starts.