Heaney held back by forearm tightness

Angels left-hander recovering from flexor muscle strain

Heaney held back by forearm tightness

CHICAGO -- Andrew Heaney's recovery from a left flexor muscle strain is "at a little bit of a plateau," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday. Heaney still feels tightness in his forearm when he plays catch and has yet to move beyond a distance of 60 feet.

Heaney, who entered the season as the No. 2 starter, was placed on the 15-day disabled list 13 days ago, but Scioscia said he's "got a ways to go."

"It's something that you can't force your way through," Scioscia said before a 5-0 loss to the White Sox. "It's way better than it was when he first did it, but it's not at the point where you're getting a definitive timeline of where his long toss might be when he gets on the mound."

Heaney felt soreness in his pitching forearm during his first start April 5, a circumstance that caused his velocity to drop in the later innings. He reported the issue to the Angels' coaching and medical staffs after the game and was put on the DL the following day.

Initial tests and a follow-up MRI revealed that Heaney's ulnar collateral ligament, the one that would require season-ending Tommy John surgery if torn, was perfectly sound. Doctors told Heaney that his ligament was "fat and healthy," and the 24-year-old left-hander expressed encouragement in the strength of his forearm a week into his recovery.

Heaney has played catch three times since being placed on the DL. He did so lightly the first time and felt nothing. The second time, there was "a little tightness." The third time, while extending to 60 feet over the weekend in Minnesota, Heaney "really tried to put something on it" and felt tight once again.

"So they said, 'Listen, you can only get worse from here,'" Heaney said. "'You can't get any better trying to throw through it. Let's shut it down and re-evaluate it and make sure that we're 100 percent when we start getting back on it.'"

Heaney doesn't necessarily consider this "shutting it down," because he doesn't believe he ever officially began a throwing program. He was merely testing the injury. The tightness has left the base of his forearm, but there's still some lingering near his elbow.

His ligament, however, remains sound.

Surgery has not been discussed.

"It hasn't even really been a topic," Heaney said. "And I've had no trouble doing all the things they've given me. I'm pretty much going through my daily activity as if I was on a [starting pitcher's five-day schedule], except I'm not throwing."

Worth noting

C.J. Wilson, rehabbing from tendinitis in his left shoulder in Arizona, is playing catch from 90 feet but also has a long way to go. Scioscia said Wilson would have to back up to at least 150 feet before he can get on the mound again.

Geovany Soto has caught all three of Hector Santiago's starts. It's by design, becuase Scioscia believes the two have built a rapport since Spring Training began. But Carlos Perez will eventually catch Santiago, too.

• Left-handed-hitting Rule 5 Draft pick Ji-Man Choi has started only two of the Angels' first 13 games and wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday, even though the Angels faced a righty. Choi also hasn't been used as a late-game defensive replacement.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.