The Los Angeles Dodgers had more offensive struggles and fell to the Cleveland Guardians in the rubber match at Dodger Stadium, but it wasn’t all bad news as Andrew Heaney returned to the rotation and had encouraging results.
The veteran southpaw was activated off the 10-day injured list after missing 63 days due to left shoulder discomfort.
In his first inning of work, Heaney struck out the first two batters he faced and eventually went on to strike out the side in a scoreless inning. He allowed an unearned run in the second inning, but then posted more zeroes until the sixth.
To start the sixth, Heaney allowed his first earned run of the season by giving up a homer to Oscar González. He then walked Josh Naylor before Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called on Brusdar Graterol to take over on the mound.
Heaney finished his day going five-plus innings, giving up five hits, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out seven and walking one.
“I felt good,” Heaney said of his return. “Pretty close, a couple pitches got away from me. Not happy with how the two batters were in the sixth, but beyond that, it was good and something to build off.”
Perhaps even more encouraging than the overall results was Heaney’s velocity. Prior to the injury, the southpaw was averaging 91 mph on his fastball, but on Sunday he was sitting around 93 mph for his first few innings.
“Early was where I want to be,” Heaney said. “Kind of late, I think I maybe ran out of steam a little bit. It’s something I can keep pushing through and get this one under my belt to go from there.”
Heaney also said his shoulder felt “good” after the outing and overall he feels fine.
Heaney relied on slider less against Guardians
Prior to his injury, Heaney was throwing his slider around half of his pitches. But on Sunday, the slider usage dropped to just about a quarter of his pitches.
“I think it’s always going to be hitter-dependent and situation-dependent,” Heaney said. “I really trust these guys and definitely Will. Whatever he’s putting down, I’m pretty much going to go with that. Just kind of what’s working and the situation.”
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