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Heaney set for 2019 debut on Sunday

Barria recalled from Triple-A; No. 1 prospect Adell reinstated
@RhettBollinger
May 25, 2019

ANAHEIM -- The Angels’ rotation is set to get a boost, as left-hander Andrew Heaney will make his season debut on Sunday against the Rangers, manager Brad Ausmus said Friday. Heaney threw a bullpen without any issues on Thursday and was cleared to join the rotation for the first time

ANAHEIM -- The Angels’ rotation is set to get a boost, as left-hander Andrew Heaney will make his season debut on Sunday against the Rangers, manager Brad Ausmus said Friday.

Heaney threw a bullpen without any issues on Thursday and was cleared to join the rotation for the first time since suffering from left elbow inflammation during Spring Training. He made one rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday, throwing 4 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.

“Everything went well with the bullpen,” Ausmus said. “Which, by the way, he threw a day early because we were scheduled to have an off-day on Thursday. That's why it was originally Friday. But having played the game, he threw the bullpen Thursday instead of Friday, and he's good to go."

The Angels, though, are still determining how their rotation will look after Heaney, as there’s a chance they could use a six-man staff considering they just started a stretch of 20 straight days with a game.

“That’s a possibility,” Ausmus said. “We haven’t mapped it out. But it is on the table.”

Heaney threw 73 pitches in his Minor League outing, so he’s expected to be limited to roughly 90 pitches against the Rangers on Sunday. Heaney, 27, led the Angels with 30 starts last season, posting a 4.15 ERA with 180 strikeouts and 45 walks in 180 innings.

Smith progressing

Catcher Kevan Smith, on the 7-day concussion list after taking a foul tip off his mask on Tuesday, said his symptoms are improving and that he’s been researching better mask options to prevent a future concussion. Smith said he’s fortunate he hasn’t had any issues with sensitivity to light or sound -- just fatigue.

“Not much headache-wise, but in a haze is the best way I can put it,” Smith said. “Each day is better. Today, I definitely feel my best. I have been sleeping so much. It’s crazy how your brain will tell you to shut down and get some rest.”

Smith said he’s been in contact with All-Star, the company that manufactures the catching mask he wears to try other options. He hasn’t worn the hockey-style mask in pro ball because he prefers the lighter, traditional mask. He said he was using a titanium mask, but that he’s going to try others, as fellow backstop Jonathan Lucroy uses one with magnesium, and there are others made with steel that aren’t as light but absorb blows better.

“There are different metals and materials that absorb more of the impact than others,” Smith said. “That’s what they want, they want other things to absorb the impact other than our brains.”

Barria recalled, Cole optioned

Right-hander Jaime Barria was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to give the Angels a long reliever in their bullpen this weekend, while right-handed reliever Taylor Cole was optioned to Triple-A.

Barria had been starting with Triple-A since being optioned in early May, posting a 6.97 ERA with 16 strikeouts and seven homers allowed in four starts totaling 20 2/3 innings. Cole had been pitching well with the Angels, posting a 3.38 ERA in 10 2/3 innings, but he was optioned after throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Thursday, which meant he wouldn't be available on Friday and possibly Saturday.

Adell back in action

Center fielder Jo Adell, the club’s No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was reinstated from the Minor League injured list on Friday and was sent to Class A Advanced Inland Empire. The Angels' 10th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft went 0-4 with two strikeouts in his first game back.

Adell, 20, suffered both a left hamstring strain and a right ankle sprain while running the bases in a Spring Training game on March 9.

Adell, who is ranked as the No. 14 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline, was expected to start the season with Double-A Mobile, but the Angels are being conservative with him as he returns from injury. Adell hit .290/.355/.543 with 20 homers, 32 doubles and 15 stolen bases in 99 games across three levels last year, including 17 games at Double-A.

Upton improving

Left fielder Justin Upton, who is on the 60-day injured list with left turf toe, has moved up to running on a treadmill without any issues and has also been cleared to start taking batting practice on the field. Upton is still considered several weeks away from returning, as he’ll need a rehab assignment against live pitching before returning, but it’s still good news that he’s able to put his full weight on his toe while running.

“He’s cleared for BP on the field, been doing some outfield ground-ball work, ran on the treadmill [with] 100 percent weight,” Ausmus said. “Been coming along actually very well.”

Garcia could return Saturday

Reliever Luis Garcia, on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain, threw a scoreless inning with three strikeouts in a rehab outing with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Thursday. He could be activated as early as Saturday, as the Angels want to make sure he came out of the outing OK before he returns.

"I'm feeling good," Garcia said. "I pitched yesterday and felt good. I feel I'm ready to go."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.