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Heaney to return from TJ surgery on Friday

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Andrew Heaney will pitch in his first Major League game since April 5, 2016, against the Orioles on Friday.

Heaney was diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon his last time on a big league mound before it became clear he also tore his ulnar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery in July 2016. But the lefty has come to the finish line of his rehab process.

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WASHINGTON -- Andrew Heaney will pitch in his first Major League game since April 5, 2016, against the Orioles on Friday.

Heaney was diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon his last time on a big league mound before it became clear he also tore his ulnar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery in July 2016. But the lefty has come to the finish line of his rehab process.

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"It's a remarkable process he went through on his rehab," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was so seamless that he just went from one stage to another all the way through it. He feels terrific.

"Although there's always hurdles you have to get over when you start to pitch and with the adrenaline being in a Major League environment, we're obviously paying close attention to how he's feeling and how he's throwing. We're excited to give him the ball."

Heaney is the second Angels starter to return in the past two weeks, as injuries have troubled the unit all season. Tyler Skaggs came back Aug. 5 and has posted a 2.93 ERA in three starts since.

The Angels entered their bout vs. the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon a half-game up for the second AL Wild Card spot. Their rotation is beginning to regroup, although Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards and Alex Meyer are still on the DL. The rotation will now be Ricky Nolasco, Skaggs, JC Ramirez, Parker Bridwell and Heaney.

Heaney will be the Angels' 12th pitcher to start this season. He posted a 6-4 record and a 3.49 ERA in 2015 before participating in just one contest in 2016. The 26-year-old notched a 1-1 record and a 3.12 ERA with Triple-A Salt Lake this month, allowing one run over seven innings in his last outing Saturday.

The Angels are carrying four starters because of their two off-days this week, so they can add Heaney to the rotation without moving a starter. They also don't need to make a move on the 40-man roster after they outrighted Damien Magnifico on Tuesday. Los Angeles will have to open a spot on the 25-man roster, most likely a reliever.

"The whole year, we would've felt better with an extra reliever, and at times we've had that," Scioscia. "But we're getting closer enough that we're going to expand our roster where we can look at a lot of different roster options and maybe be in a position where we can add on an as-needed basis."

Heaney rejoined the team in Washington on Tuesday and threw a bullpen session, assuring the Angels he's ready after a 16-month hiatus from playing in a big league ballpark.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington who covered the Angels on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Angels, Andrew Heaney