After speaking with the media on Sunday, Andrew Heaney said that he feels fine after he experienced back stiffness on Saturday. He still expects to get the start for the Angels on Opening Day this Friday in Oakland.
Manager Joe Maddon is very high on the left-handed starter, stating that he’s gained an appreciation for him.
“I’ve gained a large appreciation for this young man already,” Maddon said on Sunday. “He looks you right in the eyeball and tells you straight up what he’s thinking. It was not him attempting to persuade. This is exactly what he felt like. We listened and I believe he’ll be fine.”
He was scheduled to throw six innings in the team’s intrasquad game on Saturday, but after waking up with back stiffness, he decided to avoid risking injury and just get a regular workout in instead.
“I just felt like, as quick as our build-up was gonna be in this Spring Training 2.0, and then with the season being as short as it is, it was just smart to be cautious,” Heaney said to the media. “I feel ready after 85 pitches my last time out. Felt good with all of my stuff. I’m ready to go. I feel fine.”
There isn’t a pitch count for Heaney to start the season, but he feels ready to go however long he’s needed.
“Ultimately, it’s not my decision, but I threw 85 pitches in the last one and felt great — [I] feel like I’m built up to 85, done some things in here to simulate game intensity,” Heaney said. “I feel good. Just one of those things where you wake up with a stiff back and didn’t want to press it. Need to be good to go for these 60-plus games.”
Heaney will be the fourth different starter in four years for the Angels on Opening Day.
Angels news and notes:
- Joe Maddon said that Anthony Rendon feels fine after he was dealing with oblique tightness earlier in the week. “I haven’t heard from the trainers when they’ll let him go,” Maddon said. “But Anthony feels confident he’ll be able to play the first game.”
- An update from Justin Anderson, who learned last week he will need to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2020 season
- After arriving late to camp because of testing positive for COVID-19, Patrick Sandoval looks to be making great progress. “Sandoval is farther along than you’d think,” Maddon said. “You might see him sooner rather than later.” It’s likely we won’t see him on the Opening Day roster, but it definitely sounds like he will be joining the team sometime in the near future.
- We have an official update from Shohei Ohtani. He said he thinks he’s starting the third game of the season, which would be next Sunday. This is expected, as a few days ago Maddon said they want him to pitch the most when they have an off-day following his start. The Angels have three Monday off-days, so that makes the most sense.
Here are the unofficial numbers from his outing on Sunday.
Shohei Ohtani didn’t face an organized lineup, but went ~5 innings today. The unofficial numbers:— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) July 19, 2020
5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 6 K, 22 BF
72 pitches, 45 strikes.