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OC Register: Angels’ Griffin Canning says his elbow feels ‘normal’ after injection

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ANAHEIM >> Griffin Canning is cautiously optimistic that he can be a success story for platelet-rich plasma treatments.

Most of the pitchers who have tried similar biologic injections to avoid surgery for injuries have ended up merely postponing the procedures. In recent years with the Angels, Andrew Heaney, Shohei Ohtani and Garrett Richards all had Tommy John surgery after failing to get adequate results from the PRP.

Canning, though, has now been throwing to hitters for about two months, including a simulated three innings as recently as Friday. On Sunday morning, he said he’s still feeling good.

“It just feels like normal, honestly,” Canning said. “Like my elbow has felt in the past when I hadn’t have any issues with it. That’s probably the best way to explain it.”

Canning felt what he described as tightness following his throwing back in spring training. He underwent a battery of tests that didn’t show any damage that would require surgery, so he tried the PRP and rest.

The coronavirus pandemic bought him more time, and he seems to have benefited.

He said he will remain cautious, though.

“I feel like it will always be around,” he said. “It’s something I’m going to have to work with and manage, but I definitely feel 10 times better than I did in the spring, so I’m very happy about that.”

Canning, 24, had his rookie season ended early in August, because he was feeling some elbow issues and the Angels were out of the race. He insisted he was fine throughout the winter and the beginning of the spring, before the issue returned.

Certainly, the jury will be out on him until he is able to pitch in the competition of a game without having an issues.

Manager Joe Maddon said he’s eager to have Canning in his rotation.

“I’ve been impressed with him from the first time I saw him during the regular camp,” Maddon said. “I don’t see any reason why (he wouldn’t be in the rotation) if he just continues along this path. This guy is a premier pitcher. He’s not just a pitcher. This guy, with good health, he’s going to have a nice major league career.”


Andrew Heaney, who was scheduled to be Angels starter for the Mar. 26 Opening Day in Houston, will still start on Opening Day in July, Maddon said.

After that, the Angels rotation still has at least one significant question mark.

Julio Teheran was still not working out with the team on Sunday, the third day of camp, and Maddon said he couldn’t say when Teheran would join the team or whether it would be soon enough to pencil him into the rotation.

“That’s going to be based on when he gets here and how much time we have available to us to really get him stretched out properly,” Maddon said. “So I don’t have a specific answer for that. That is still up in the air. Once we get him here I’ll be able to answer that more directly. But for right now I can’t tell you for sure that he’d be able to be available.”

Shohei Ohtani, Dylan Bundy and Canning all have been in camp and throwing. Barring injury, those three would join Heaney in the rotation.

Beyond that, both Matt Andriese and Felix Peña are in camp and working out as starters, although they could also go to the bullpen. Jaime Barria, Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez were also starter candidates in spring training.


Add Matt Thaiss to the list of players who isn’t yet in camp. Maddon said only that Thaiss’ absence was related to the “protocols.” Players must receive a negative a coronavirus test before beginning workouts. …

Maddon came away impressed after meeting left-hander Reid Detmers on Saturday. Detmers, the Angels’ first-round pick from last month, is working out with the group in Long Beach. “This guy is easy to like,” Maddon said. “You get immediately the sense of a slower heartbeat and the maturity, so he’s going to fit in really well.”…

Maddon also said he was impressed with Jo Adell, who is working out in Long Beach. “Adell looked really good,” Maddon said. “Swung the bat well.”

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While this is not bad news, his usage will have to be managed/restricted more than any potential starter they have.  Using an opener for him may be one of several ways to evaluate and utilize our relief corps at the same time keeping him in a tight pitch count until his elbow proves capable of the prolonged intermittent stress of regular starts.  From what I recall though, Maddon doesn't like using an opener, or better said, he doesn't like imposing an opener on an established starter who doesn't want one. 

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