Andrew Heaney Put Faith In New Sweeping Slider During Dodgers Debut

The Los Angeles Dodgers snapped their two-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on a rainy night at Target Field. Prior to pulling away with a six-run eighth inning, the Dodgers were kept in the game behind a strong 2022 debut from Andrew Heaney.

The left-hander got through 4.1 innings with just one run (unearned) allowed and five strikeouts. He generated 15 swings-and-misses, which fell two short of his season high in 2021, and kept the Twins off balance with a steady dose of a new sweeping slider.

Heaney had mixed results with the pitch during Spring Training but was encouraged by the results he got in his regular season debut against the Twins, via SportsNet LA:

“It was good today. Honestly, it was the first time I’ve really thrown it to hitters, so it was kind of like, ‘Just go out there and rip it.’ Definitely something I’ll keep working on and keep tweaking.”

Heaney wasn’t sure if his new breaking ball would be effective against the Twins lineup, but trusted himself and plans to keep throwing it in future starts:

“There’s nothing you can do but trust it at that point. It felt good, it was OK in the bullpen and felt good when I got out there. Just kept throwing it. I think that’s the only way you’re going to feel better with it.”

In need of starting rotation depth, the Dodgers signed Heaney to a one-year contract during the offseason. He was coming off a forgettable 2021 season that saw him go a combined 8-9 with a 5.83 ERA, 4.85 FIP and 1.32 WHIP across 30 games (23 starts) for the L.A. Angels and New York Yankees.

Despite his struggles, Heaney was one of the more popular free agents due to his underlying peripherals and a belief that he could follow the same path to stardom as Robbie Ray with a few tweaks.

Heaney was eager to work with Dodgers

When discussing his decision to sign with the Dodgers, Heaney highlighted the organization’s success with aiding other pitchers in revitalizing their careers. Heaney was confident L.A. would help him achieve the same, though that process was interrupted by the MBL lockout.

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