Angels’ Andrew Heaney approves of new MLB drug policies

first_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter TEMPE, Ariz. — Andrew Heaney has seen at least one positive come from the tragedy that struck the Angels last year.As a reaction to the death of teammate Tyler Skaggs, Major League Baseball and the players’ union agreed to start testing for opioids this year. Skaggs died July 1 after overdosing on a mixture of opioids and alcohol in Texas.Heaney, one of Skaggs’ closest friends and also the Angels’ union representative, said he fully supports the change.“I like the way it’s structured where it’s not like you’re just gonna get suspended,” Heaney said. “You’re going to actually be put in a program where you get treatment, get help.” Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Matt Thaiss spent much of his winter in the Dominican Republic working on improving at third base, and then the Angels signed Anthony Rendon. Maddon said Thaiss will still get some work at third, although his focus will be at first. Thaiss said he believes the work at third has made him better at first. …Outfielder Jo Adell, the Angels’ top prospect, said he is unsure if the Angels will allow him to play for Team USA when it takes another shot at qualifying for the Olympics in late March. The qualifying tournament will be played March 22-26 at various spots in the Phoenix area. Adell played for Team USA in Japan in November, but the team failed to qualify for the Olympics. The Angels might not want Adell risking injury in international competition so close to the start of the season. …Relief pitcher Ty Buttrey said he is expecting to resume throwing by the end of this week. Buttrey has been shut down for the past four days because of a strained oblique. He is expected to be ready for Opening Day.center_img The loss of Skaggs was the most serious issue Heaney faced last season, all while dealing with the more mundane problems of injuries and his inconsistent performance.He came out of spring training with an elbow injury for the second consecutive season. Instead of missing just a couple weeks, as he did in 2018, he missed two months.Heaney said he changed his offseason routine to try to avoid that fate this year. He took less time off from throwing, and even when he wasn’t throwing he continued to do his arm-care exercises.“I know I’ve put in the work,” Heaney said. “I know I’ve done the right stuff. Ultimately it’s about surviving spring training and getting off to a good start. That’s been my bugaboo, getting out of spring healthy.”Heaney also tinkered with his delivery last season, at one point moving from the third-base side of the rubber to the first-base side. He had gone back and forth throughout his career. Now, he’s going to try pitching from the middle.“Splitting the difference,” he said. “When I’m in the middle, it gave me that feeling of the cross angle that I naturally have, but also the ability to keep myself on line.”He is hoping the conditioning and new position on the rubber can help him reach his potential. He was good in 2015 and for most of 2018, but in between those stretches he’s been injured and inconsistent.“I know what I’m capable of for long stretches,” he said. “It’s really hard when it’s off and on, off and on. Not only physically, but mentally. It’s tough.”BUCHTER’S CHANCELeft-handed reliever Ryan Buchter, who joined the Angels a day after agreeing to a minor-league deal, said he’s confident he can improve enough against right-handed hitters to be useful even with the new three-batter rule.Last year with the Oakland A’s, Buchter allowed lefties a .728 OPS and righties a .904 OPS, which may have been one of the reasons a pitcher with a career 2.86 ERA couldn’t get a major-league deal.“I can make an excuse and die off or I can adapt and try to get righties out,” Buchter said. “I think I can. I’ve done it in the past. Last year, I struggled with it, but my plan is to get hitters out whether they’re left-handed or right-handed.”For his career, the 33-year-old Buchter has been better, allowing righties a .701 OPS and lefties a .596 OPS.“I want to give him an opportunity vs. righties,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I know he can get them out. He has in the past. He makes us better. He’s just a veteran pitcher with a tremendous history.”ALSOOutfielder Brian Goodwin was scheduled to have his arbitration hearing Tuesday, the first Angels player to go to a hearing since pitcher Jered Weaver in 2011. The ruling is expected on Wednesday. Goodwin was asking for $2.2 million and the Angels offered $1.85 million. …Related Articles Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Players who fail tests for opioids will be entered into a treatment program, and only disciplined if they don’t abide by the treatment program.The second major change in the new drug program was to remove marijuana from the list of drugs of abuse.“I think it’s a good thing to allow guys to smoke weed,” Heaney said. “Everyone has a different view. Marijuana and CBD use is very beneficial to people.”Heaney said he believes allowing marijuana while testing for opioids is related.“People say (marijuana) is a gateway or whatever, I think it’s more like, ‘If you can’t do this, logically you’re going to jump to the next step,” Heaney said. “I don’t think that’s healthy for anybody.” Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield last_img

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