Heaney on IL with left shoulder discomfort

2 years ago

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers placed left-hander Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder discomfort before Wednesday’s game against the Braves. The severity of the injury is unclear, as is how the left-hander sustained it.

Heaney, however, did suffer left shoulder injuries in 2017 and ‘19 as a member of the Angels. In ‘19, Heaney missed nearly a month with a similar injury. In ‘17, he suffered the injury on Sept. 9 and missed the rest of the regular season.

In his last start against the Reds, Heaney had one of his best starts in the Majors. He struck out 11 over six scoreless frames, the third-most in a start in his career. Heaney has yet to allow a run in 2022, striking out 16 over 10 1/3 innings of work. Through two starts, Heaney has been the most pleasant surprise for the Dodgers.

Despite posting a 5.83 ERA in 30 appearances with the Yankees and Angels last season, the Dodgers believed in Heaney enough to sign him to a one-year, $8.5 million deal in November. Since then, Heaney has worked with pitching coach Mark Prior on a new breaking ball. They’ve also tried to clean up Heaney’s delivery.

Through two starts, Heaney ranks in the 95th percentile in whiff percentage. He’s also in the 87th percentile in opponents’ chase Rate, which means Heaney is making balls look like strikes through the zone.

All the early returns have been positive for Heaney and the Dodgers, but now Los Angeles will need to patch up the back end of its rotation for an undisclosed period of time. The back end of the rotation was a concern for the Dodgers coming into the season, but Heaney’s stellar performance calmed some of those nerves.

Now, they’ll need others to step up. Tony Gonsolin, who started Wednesday’s game against the Braves, will see an increased role. Tyler Anderson, who has been piggybacking Gonsolin in the rotation, could also get starts until Heaney is healthy.

Top prospects Bobby Miller and Ryan Pepiot are expected to make an impact at some point this season, but the two young right-handers might not be ready this early. Right-hander Andre Jackson could be a possibility if the Dodgers need some length. Jackson posted a 2.31 ERA in three appearances last season.

With Heaney going on the injured list, the Dodgers recalled utilityman Zach McKinstry from Triple-A Oklahoma City. McKinstry was hitting .404 with a homer in 52 at-bats in the Minors.