It’s now been over five weeks since Andrew Heaney pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it’s more than likely he won’t be back for another month — if we’re to offer a conservative, educated guess.
Fans received a positive update on Heaney’s shoulder injury Wednesday, but then perhaps quickly learned the Dodgers downplayed the seriousness when initially ruling him out.
Heaney started throwing again nearly two weeks ago during the team’s series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. He’s continued throwing bullpen sessions ever since and is “feeling good,” but it’s still unclear when he’ll take the mound for even semi-meaningful practice reps.
According to Juan Toribio of MLB.com, there’s “still no real set timetable on when [Heaney] will face hitters,” which means he’s still fairly far off from a return. First come the simulations, then the live hitters, then perhaps a quick rehab stint just because it’s been so long.
In the meantime, the Dodgers will continue admirably weathering the storm with a thin rotation, which is also missing Clayton Kershaw. That means more quality outings from Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin are paramount.
Andrew Heaney is progressing slowly from his injury with the Dodgers
April 17 was the last time Heaney’s taken the mound, and if either the injury is that bad or the Dodgers are being extra cautious, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Heaney requires minimal buildup to return to the rotation, which is now led by Walker Buehler and Julio Urías with Gonsolin, Anderson and Ryan Pepiot providing productive supporting roles.
The caution here shouldn’t surprise fans, though. Heaney is coming off a career-worst season and clearly had a lot to work through with the Dodgers before the start of 2022. On top of revamping his offerings on the mound, it’s doubtful the Dodgers want an uphill injury battle coinciding with what’s already a considerable mental journey.
Additionally, Heaney was not being relied upon for ~30 high-impact starts when he was signed for $8.5 million in November. He was a back-end option the Dodgers took a flyer on because they believed there was something to unlock. Now that they’ve seemingly done so, Heaney needs to be as fresh as possible for the remainder of the year since his potential consistent ability to offer quality outings will be even more important later on.
It might be another 3-4 weeks, but the Dodgers are seemingly making sure Heaney is beyond comfortable to face big league lineups. Can’t fault them if they keep winning, either.