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OC Register: Angels’ Andrew Heaney set for simulated game Monday


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CLEVELAND — The Angels are planning to bring Andrew Heaney back without first having him go through the formality of pitching in a minor league game.

That suits Heaney just fine.

“I don’t necessarily believe in the whole game-speed thing,” Heaney said Saturday. “If you do a sim game, it’s in a big-league stadium against big-league hitters in front of nobody. If you do a minor league game, it’s to minor league hitters in a minor league stadium in front of nobody. So it’s not that much of a difference.”

Heaney, who has been out since July 16 with shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw about 60 pitches over the equivalent of four innings in a simulated game Monday in Cincinnati.

If that goes well, Heaney could return to the Angels rotation as soon as next weekend in Boston.

Heaney is eager to get back on a mound and finish strong after what has been a forgettable season for him so far.

In spring training, he tried to pitch through elbow discomfort for too long and ended up missing nearly two months of the season. Then he returned and posted a 5.09 ERA over nine starts before going on the injured list with a shoulder issue.

The season got even worse for Heaney and his teammates about a month ago with the stunning death of Tyler Skaggs, whom Heaney called his best friend.

“Obviously, it’s been a very (bad) season, a nightmare season for me and some other guys in general,” Heaney said. “When we came to spring training, this is not what we envisioned. But from a team standpoint, we’re still right there. Obviously we have not played well at all in the last week. I want to finish strong. I think everyone wants to finish strong.”

MIDDLETON UPDATE

Keynan Middleton, who had a setback in his rehab from Tommy John surgery a couple weeks ago, is getting closer to being ready to return to a mound, Manager Brad Ausmus said.

“The report on him yesterday was extremely positive,” Ausmus said Saturday. “I can’t tell you when he’s going to be off the mound, but he has been throwing. Yesterday was probably his best day from a strength perspective.”

Ausmus said Middleton would probably need a couple bullpen sessions and then he could resume his rehab assignment. Middleton had pitched in four minor league games, including one at Triple-A, before his setback.

RAMIREZ DROPS APPEAL

Noé Ramírez plans to drop the appeal of his three-game suspension, Ausmus said. The suspension, which stemmed from Ramírez hitting Houston’s Jake Marisnick with a pitch, will begin as soon as Ramírez is ready to return to the active roster.

Ramírez is on the injured list after he came down with a stomach virus. Ausmus said Ramírez lost weight while he was sick, and now he’s got his appetite back and he’s trying to regain his weight and strength.

When Ramírez is activated, he’ll begin the suspension. The Angels will have to play with a 24-man roster for those three games.

ALSO

Dustin Garneau, who was designated for assignment by the Angels earlier this week, was claimed on waivers by the Oakland A’s…

On Friday night, Dillon Peters gave up three runs in 7 2/3 innings, the Angels longest outing by a pitcher this season, but he is still expected to pitch after an opener when he has his next turn Thursday in Boston. Ausmus said it’s likely they’ll still use the opener because the game is after an off day, and they’ll have all their relievers available.

UP NEXT

Angels (RHP Jaime Barría, 4-4, 6.28) at Indians (RHP Shane Bieber, 10-4, 3.30), 10:10 a.m., Fox Sports West

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