Andrew Heaney will get the call for the Angels on opening day, the team announced on Sunday.
Joe Maddon said Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran were all under consideration to be the Angels’ Opening Day starter. Ultimately, they felt that Heaney’s tenure with the Angels warranted his selection for the honor.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) March 8, 2020
“He’s ready to blossom,” Maddon said.
Heaney said he’s honored to receive the opening day assignment. “I’ve really worked hard to put myself in that position.” He added, “To myself, I’ve proven how good I can be.”— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) March 8, 2020
Heaney had an injury-plagued 2019 for the Angels, posting a 4.91 ERA in 18 starts. But given how decimated the Halos’ rotation was last year, that was good enough to lead the team in starts and strikeouts (118) while finishing third in innings (95⅓).
Despite the setbacks — he missed two months at the start of the season with elbow inflammation, and another month later with shoulder inflammation — Heaney’s career-best 28.9-percent strikeout rate ranked 22nd among the 142 major league pitchers with at least 90 innings.
The Angels start the 2020 season on the road against the Astros on March 26. He’s faced the Astros seven times in the last two years, posting a 3.99 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 12 walks in 38⅓ innings.
Heaney will be the fifth opening day starter in the last six years for the Angels. He’ll be just the fourth left-hander to start opening day for the Halos, joining Scott Schoeneweis (2001), Jarrod Washburn (2002), and Joe Saunders (2009).