Heaney Making Up For Lost Time After Spring Setback

JUPITER, Fla. — Left-hander Andrew Heaney stood on the mound, poised to throw his final pitch of big league camp in a simulation game.

As fate would have it, that throw sidelined Heaney — the 2012 First-Year Player Draft’s ninth overall selection by the Miami Marlins. The Oklahoma State product suffered a lat strain, forcing him to miss almost two months of the Florida State League season before he returned in late May.

“It came out of nowhere,” Heaney said. “The pitch before — a fastball — didn’t come out right, didn’t feel like it came out smooth. I didn’t think anything of it. [The] release point was a little off, and [my] next pitch was a slider.

“I felt something pull really hard in my lat, and [I] immediately pulled back my arm and it tightened up real bad. It was weird, because I never had any problems with injuries before. It was strange.”

While his Class A Jupiter Hammerheads teammates prepared for the upcoming season, Heaney couldn’t throw for three weeks. Until the incident, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder’s injury report consisted solely of him once missing the final week of high school baseball after breaking his foot.

“The thing that is really frustrating is, obviously, not playing, but one of the knocks is that I have a tall, slender frame [that is] injury-prone, and I’ve never been hurt before,” Heaney said. “My first full season, I can’t even make it out of Spring Training. I want to prove those people wrong.

“Not being able to break with the team and having to watch other people play while you’re in rehab is frustrating.”

Heaney has started four games since his return on May 20, and recently celebrated his 22nd birthday. In his debut, he allowed one run on four hits over 4 1/3 innings while striking out nine.

In his next outing — his best so far — Heaney pitched five scoreless innings, fanning six and walking one. On June 2, he gave up two runs on four hits over just three frames, an appearance Hammerheads manager Andy Haines believes will go a long way toward Heaney’s development. And this past Saturday, he went five innings, surrendering just three hits and one run while fanning four.

Source: Christina De Nicola, MLB.com