With Tony Gonsolin returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation on Monday, and Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw starting the final two games of the regular season, it squeezed Andrew Heaney out of a spot and into another appearance out of the bullpen.
Having last pitched on September 29, Heaney is next scheduled to do so on Tuesday. The Dodgers hope he and Urías will cover the entirety of their penultimate game against the Colorado Rockies.
The same strategy was deployed with Tyler Anderson and Andre Jackson on Sunday.
For Heaney, it will serve as another opportunity in the role he’s likely to fill come the postseason. Kershaw and Urías will start Games 1 and 2 of the National League Division Series in some order, and Anderson and Gonsolin are to follow.
Rather than have Heaney start against the San Diego Padres last week, the Dodgers utilized Brusdar Graterol as an opener. Heaney followed and allowed three hits over four scoreless innings.
He escaped a bases-loaded jam at one point and was aided by collecting six strikeouts in his first relief appearance of the season.
Heaney has twice battled shoulder trouble this season but been effective when on the mound. Even with recent home run trouble, Heaney sports a 2.88 ERA and is averaging a career-best 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
Andrew Heaney comfortable in bullpen role
Although last week was a first for Heaney this season, he is confident in being able to contribute as a relief pitcher. Heaney finished his time with the New York Yankees last year by pitching out of the bullpen, but that was due to struggling as a starter.
Changing roles in this case is more of the Dodgers looking to leverage the depth on their pitching staff rather than it being an indictment on the 31-year-old.
Heaney believes the chance to enter out of the bullpen during the final week of the regular season is key to preparing for the playoffs.
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