ANAHEIM, Calif. — Andrew Heaney will take the mound for the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday against the Texas Rangers.
And it is a big deal.
It will be the left-hander’s second start of the season, which is one more start than Heaney had all of last year when he started the second game of the season for the Angels against the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
Heaney gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings, then felt something going on with his left arm. It turned out it was his elbow, and it meant Tommy John surgery.
The Angels essentially counted Heaney out for all of 2017, but he made a quick recovery, returning to a major league mound 13 1/2 months after his operation, starting Friday against the Baltimore Orioles. Heaney got a no-decision after allowing five runs and seven hits in five innings of the Angels’ 9-7 loss.
Though the injury cost him nearly two seasons, he opts to look at the bright side.
“Right now, the way I feel, (the surgery) is going to be a really (lousy) thing that’s a positive thing for my career,” he told the Orange County Register. “I learned how to train better. I learned how to eat better. I learned how to take care of my body better.”
Heaney came to the Angels after being traded twice in one day in December 2014. The Marlins traded him in a multi-player deal to the Dodgers, who then sent Heaney to the Angels for second baseman Howie Kendrick.
After beginning 2015 in the minors, Heaney joined the Angels’ rotation midway through that season and wound up going 6-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 18 starts.
That included two starts against the Rangers, in which he was 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA. Elvis Andrus (3-for-5), Adrian Beltre (2-for-5), Delino DeShields Jr. (2-for-5) and Mike Napoli (2-for-4) all have had success against Heaney.
Andrew Cashner, who will pitch for Texas on Wednesday, has made 20 starts this year despite missing time due to an oblique strain and a stiff neck. Despite his losing record (7-9), he has the best ERA (3.31) among the club’s starters.
Cashner has been particularly good lately, going 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA in his past seven starts. He gave up three earned runs or fewer and pitched into the sixth inning in all seven of those games.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister hopes to get a similar performance from Cashner and keep some of the pressure off of his young and inexperienced bullpen.
“These guys are gaining experience every single time they go out,” Banister said. “It’s a situation where it’s all hands (on deck). There’s nobody that is relegated to one single inning. It’s more looking at who’s fresh, the set of hitters, the combination of pitches vs. the hitter. It’s going to be mix and match the rest of the way.”
Cashner is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career games (one start) against the Angels.
Los Angeles beat Texas 10-1 on Tuesday to even the four-game series after the Rangers won the opener 5-3 on Monday.