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Dodgers’ Andrew Heaney out to show Reds his new stuff

Sportsnaut
Mar 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney (28) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a spring training game at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers will get a second look at Andrew Heaney’s reconstructed breaking ball, although after one viewing, it appeared to be a thing of beauty.

Heaney (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his Dodgers home debut Sunday afternoon when the left-hander takes the mound for the finale of a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Signed as a free-agent in November, the Dodgers felt Heaney could be a resurrection project after he stumbled to an 8-9 record and a 5.83 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees.

After his trade-deadline deal to New York, he had a 7.32 ERA with the Yankees and was removed from the rotation, making his final seven appearances in relief.

After the lockout, the Dodgers broke down Heaney’s slider and built it back up again. The early results Tuesday in his Dodgers debut at Minnesota were 4 1/3 scoreless innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

“That’s as much swing-and-miss as I recall him having with his breaking ball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Orange County Register. “… Hopefully it’s something he can keep building on.”

Said Heaney: “Honestly, it was the first time I really threw it to hitters so it was kind of, ‘grip it and rip it.'”

The Dodgers will go for the four-game sweep of the Reds after Saturday’s 5-2 victory. Trea Turner had three hits, including the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning while extending his hitting streak to 27 games.

It is the third longest hitting streak in the club’s Los Angeles history behind a 30-game run by Andre Ethier in 2011 and a 31-game streak by Willie Davis in 1969.

While Cincinnati got a look Saturday at what the top of the rotation will look like in the future with rookie Hunter Greene’s 100-mph fastball, the current No. 1 starter takes the mound next.

The Reds are scheduled to start right-hander Tyler Mahle (1-0, 1.00), in his third start of the season. Mahle gave up four runs in his most recent outing, but only one was earned because of his own error in a three-run third inning by the Cleveland Guardians.

After he delivered a 3.75 ERA in 33 starts last season, the Reds think Mahle is ready to take the next step in his sixth big league season. Reds manager David Bell isn’t afraid to admit how good the 27-year-old Mahle can be.

“I think he’s growing into one of the best pitchers in the game and I think the ceiling is the top of pitchers in the league,” Bell said. “I know that’s who he thinks he can be and so do I.”

Bell said that Mahle’s cut fastball and his slider are better than ever, while his four-seam fastball is the pitch that will lead to his success.

“He has a special one,” Bell said of the fastball. “Just using the pitches at the right time. He will be tested (Sunday) with this lineup but he is a guy that we always want on the mound.”

The Reds played their second game Saturday without second baseman Jonathan India (hamstring). Bell said the team will decide Sunday if India needs a 10-day injured-list stint. Also out the past two games was Nick Senzel, who was placed on the COVID IL.

–Field Level Media