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Andrew Heaney placed on injured list with left shoulder discomfort

Utility man Zach McKinstry was recalled from OKC

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

The Dodgers placed pitcher Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with left shoulder discomfort, losing the pitcher who has excelled through his first two starts with his new team.

Heaney struck out 16 while allowing only one unearned run in 10⅓ innings last week, including 11 strikeouts in six scoreless frames on Sunday against Cincinnati. Heaney was listed among other noteworthy performances under consideration for National League player of the week, which was awarded to Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

The Dodgers signed Heaney in November to a one-year, $8.5 million contract.

Of note for Heaney this season is incorporating a new slider to great effect, with opponents just 2-for-20 in at-bats that finish with that pitch, including 10 strikeouts. Heaney, who per Baseball Savant had not thrown a slider since 2016, threw the pitch 48 percent of the time in his starts last week against the Twins and Reds.

Heaney was scheduled to start Saturday against the Padres in the middle game of a weekend showdown between NL West contenders at Petco Park in San Diego. The extent of Heaney’s injury isn’t yet known, but the Dodgers could backdate the injured list stint to Monday, which would make the left-hander eligible to return as early as April 29, when the Dodgers open a weekend series against the Tigers at Dodger Stadium.

Who replaces Heaney in the rotation remains to be soon, but Tyler Anderson is the most likely candidate among players currently on the active roster. The left-hander has allowed two runs in eight innings in a pair of piggyback relief appearances this season, with eight strikeouts and no walks.

“We’re trying to keep Tyler built up in case something unforeseen happens, so we have that other starter who could fill in,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters before Wednesday’s game, and before Heaney was placed on the injured list, as shared by SportsNet LA.

Anderson last pitched on April 15. Also on the roster as a long reliever is Mitch White, who last pitched on Saturday, throwing 37 pitches while recording four outs. Among available pitchers in Triple-A, Andre Jackson pitched four scoreless innings on Tuesday and would be on short rest on Saturday in San Diego, making him an unlikely option. Jackson is on the 40-man roster, while Ryan Pepiot is not. Pepiot, the Dodgers’ advanced pitching prospect closest to the majors, pitched last Saturday and is scheduled to start Friday for Oklahoma City.

Replacing Heaney on the Dodgers’ active roster is utility man Zach McKinstry, who won’t be on the taxi squad after all. McKinstry hit .404/.448/.673 with eight extra-base hits and 13 runs scored in 11 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, starting games at shortstop, right field, and second base.

The roster move gives the Dodgers 13 position players for the first time this season, to go with 15 pitchers. Active rosters will be trimmed from 28 players to 26 on May 2, with a limit of no more than 13 pitchers.