As the Angels pursue a 2017 postseason appearance most within the industry believe is out of their reach, there will be a subtext to their season. All the while, two injured starting pitchers, left-hander Andrew Heaney and right-hander Nick Tropeano, will be working their way back from elbow-ligament surgery with their eyes mostly set on 2018.
Heaney underwent his Tommy John surgery in July. He is already throwing and has told others of his desire to pitch this season. Tropeano, who had his ligament replacement in August, threw Sunday for the first time since surgery.
“Just to flick a ball like that,” Tropeano said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited.”
The 26-year-old right-hander logged a 3.65 earned-run average in 106 innings for the Angels over the last two seasons. He was bothered by shoulder pain for most of last June. In his third start back, he exited after two innings with elbow soreness, and surgery was soon prescribed.
“I was preparing myself for this day, just to get this check mark, to be ready, to be prepared,” Tropeano said. “It’s good. It’s reassuring. It’s obviously a good feeling when you’re waiting that long. It’s just one of those big steps, one of many, to get back to where I want to be.”
The plan for Tropeano is to throw every other day for the next several weeks, gradually …
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