Andrew Heaney knows there is plenty for him to work on, and he knows Triple-A is the best place to do that.
The Putnam City and Oklahoma State product was sent back to New Orleans by the Miami Marlins last weekend after what he called a disappointing Major League Baseball debut, leaving him a little dispirited.
Heaney made four starts with the Marlins — going 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA — but he also made four starts with the Zephyrs before that after breezing through the minors in less than two full seasons.
Some would say he was rushed to the majors, but those around the Zephyrs disagreed.
“Someone was asking me about how he was and I saw him pitch here and I was like, ‘He doesn’t need to be here,’” said Zephyrs pitcher Brian Flynn, an Owasso native. “His first two outings he blew through this kind of competition. He had proved in my eyes — and that doesn’t mean anything — that he deserved a shot.”
Heaney is a combined 7-2 across Double-A and Triple-A this season with a 2.47 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings.
He was 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his four Triple-A starts, showing signs of dominance that had him on the fast track to Miami similar to another young star in the organization, Jose Fernandez.
“He threw so well before he went up there,” Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said. “The opportunity was there for him in the big leagues. We certainly don’t think he was rushed. I think it was just part of the normal progression young players go through.”
But some things were exposed in the majors.
“Running game for sure,” Heaney said. “I need to control that better — pickoff moves, looks, varying timing, location and stuff like that.
“I got burned by big hits, big moments, bad pitches. Solo home runs don’t hurt you, but two-, three-run homers can blow it up pretty quick. I’ve just got to stay away from that.”
Heaney is scheduled to start for the Zephrys on Saturday at home against the Memphis Redbirds, missing an opportunity to pitch in front of his family against the RedHawks this week.
It’s a chance for him to regroup and work his way back to the majors.
“Honestly, I’m fine,” Heaney said. “I think they’re going to do what’s best for me. I would love to just stay up there, but at the same time if that’s not going to be what’s best for me and the team in the long run, then I don’t want to do that.
“Sometimes, shoot, maybe it’s a good thing to come down here, get my feet under me, get comfortable again and start over.”