Angels' Jered Weaver, Erick Aybar and Mike Scioscia have long connection

Angels' Jered Weaver, Erick Aybar and Mike Scioscia have long connection
Says Angels ace Jered Weaver of Manager Mike Scioscia: 'He’s been someone that I look up to and admire. We trust in each other.' (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

When Jered Weaver walks to the mound Monday in Seattle, it will mark the start of his 10th season pitching for the Angels and Mike Scioscia. Only one big league player has spent more time with the same manager, and he'll be standing at shortstop.

Erick Aybar made his Angels debut 11 days before Weaver in May 2006.

For Scioscia, beginning his 16th season with the Angels, it's no coincidence that baseball's longest-tenured manager has the longest-tenured pitcher and position player on his team.

"A manager's not going to be able to stay in one place unless you have good players that are producing," Scioscia said Saturday before the Angels' spring-training finale with the Dodgers. "And those guys are as good as there are at their respective positions."

What makes them stand out even more, though, is the fact they're still with the team that signed them. During the 2014 off-season, more than 270 players changed uniforms. The last time Weaver and Aybar had a chance to leave, both signed multiyear deals to stay, arguably at a discount.

"When you have so many years with a team, you know everyone," Aybar, who signed with the Angels as a free agent in 2002, said in Spanish. "The manager, the coaches, the front office. You feel at home.

"After this much time, it's a family."

More than that actually since both players were raised as Angels before they began rearing their own children. And both were engaged to Scioscia before they were betrothed to their wives.


"I think we've grown a pretty good relationship over the years," said Weaver, who was selected by the Angels in the first round of the 2004 draft. "He's been someone that I look up to and admire. We trust in each other.

"There's nobody else I'd want to go to war with."

Or to the supermarket since Weaver and Scioscia, off-season neighbors in Westlake Village, occasionally run into one another while shopping.

For Aybar, though, the relationship with the only big league manager he has known is more about comfort and success than grocery shopping.

Aybar played less than two months at triple A before joining the Angels as a 22-year-old. Two years later, he was the team's starting shortstop and has gone on to win a Gold Glove and be on an All-Star team since.

"It's a blessing to be with one team this many years," said Aybar, a .277 career hitter. "The people are the same. The rules are the same."

Weaver feels much the same. Monday's start will be his seventh on opening day, a franchise record. It will also make him the first player to start a game for the same manager in 10 consecutive seasons since Greg Maddux pitched for Bobby Cox and the Atlanta Braves from 1993 to 2003.

And Weaver has made the most of those 10 years, posting a .655 winning percentage, second only to the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw among active pitchers with at least 100 starts.

"I've been pretty fortunate to be able to stay in Southern California and stick with one team," he said. "A lot of guys … kind of bounce around and go to where the money is and all that kind of stuff. I've been pretty fortunate to be able to stay in a winning organization."

Roster is set

The Angels finalized their regular-season roster.

Left-handers Jose Alvarez and Cesar Ramos made the eight-man bullpen as did right-handers Vinnie Pestano and Drew Rucinski. First baseman-outfielder Efren Navarro and infielder Taylor Featherston, a Rule 5 selection, also made the team as bench players.

Monday's game in Seattle will mark the first appearance on an opening-day roster for Alvarez, Rucinski, Navarro and Featherston.

Garrett Richards update

Right-hander Garrett Richards, who tore the patellar tendon in his left knee in August, threw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium on Saturday and will continue his rehab by pitching in a camp game April 9 in Tempe, Ariz., aiming for seven innings and 100 pitches.

Richards said the knee feels fine and he hopes to need only one rehab start after the April 9 game before returning to the Angels rotation.