Shoulder injury knocks Ward off AFL roster

Angels' No. 10 prospect replaced by fellow catcher Wass

Shoulder injury knocks Ward off AFL roster

Angels catching prospect Taylor Ward was removed from the Arizona Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions roster earlier this week with a right shoulder impingement, general manager Billy Eppler said Thursday.

Ward, who is ranked the Angels' No. 10 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, played in one AFL game on Oct. 11 before suffering the injury. He was replaced on the Scottsdale roster by fellow backstop Wade Wass, who hit .257 with an .846 OPS and 11 home runs in 59 games with Double-A Mobile this season.

Wass joins an Angels contingent in the AFL that includes 2016 first-round pick Matt Thaiss, outfielder Troy Montgomery and right-handers Adam Hofacket, Samil De Los Santos and Nathan Bates.

The 2017 AFL season will run through Nov. 18.

Worth noting

• Left-hander Andrew Heaney, who returned from Tommy John surgery in August but missed his final three starts of the season due to a shoulder impingement, will be altering his throwing routine this winter at the recommendation of the Angels. Heaney's pre-surgery plan consisted of him picking up a baseball on Dec. 15, but he will now start throwing in November "to get his arm activated earlier and to have a little bit of a gradual transition as you increase the volume and the intensity," Eppler said earlier this month.

Heaney fans Cano in the 2nd

After seeing the Angels' rotation decimated by injuries for a second straight season, Eppler said that he plans to meet with the club's medical group and performance group this offseason to discuss other potential changes that could help reduce pitching injuries in the future.

"We're still in evaluation mode right now," Eppler said. "We are considering a lot of different things and talked about some ideas we might have on how to prevent those things."

• Infielder Jefry Marte missed the final three weeks of the regular season after suffering a left foot fracture, but the Angels expect him to get some extra reps by playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic this offseason. Marte has played for the Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League in the past.

• The Angels announced that left-hander Jason Gurka cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake. Gurka, 29, had been designated for assignment last week to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Felix Pena.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.