In his last start, against minor league hitters, the Angels' Jered Weaver tried to repeat the arm slot he has spent this spring searching for. He succeeded sometimes and failed other times.
On Friday, in a start against Oakland's major leaguers, Weaver found the three-quarters slot he desired again and again, and he used it to put together his best start of the spring.
"I haven't been able to throw the ball out of that arm slot in three years, so that was good," he said afterward. "My arm slot over the last three years, I've had to throw around stuff, and I didn't have to throw around anything today. Today was a good day."
Two scouts in attendance clocked Weaver's average fastball velocity at roughly 80 mph, a bit better than in his recent outings. He did surpass that barrier several times, even reaching 83 mph with his final pitch of the third inning, which induced a popup.
Weaver gave up two home runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out two hitters — Coco Crisp and Mark Canha — and did not walk any. He said his body felt looser, and, for the first time, acknowledged how tight his shoulder and neck have felt in recent seasons.
"About 80% of the league wouldn't have been throwing with what I've been throwing the last couple years," Weaver said.
Weaver's average fastball velocities in 2014 and 2015 were 86.8 and 84.9 mph. He pitched to 3.59 and 4.64 earned-run averages.
His next start will come in a minor league game Wednesday, after Cactus League play concludes. Most of his Angels teammates will already be in Anaheim, on a scheduled off day.
The results of that outing should determine whether he will begin the season in the starting rotation or make one more minor league start before debuting. Weaver said he expected the former situation, but Manager Mike Scioscia said he was unsure.
"There's no rush to where he needs to be ready," Scioscia said. "We're not going to cram. When he's ready, he's ready. He's making progress, but he definitely needs some more work."
Weaver was asked Friday who had helped him figure out how to alleviate the discomfort.
"I had to figure this out by myself," he said. "Nobody has had any answers."
Wilson shut down
Left-hander C.J. Wilson has ceased throwing and will not resume doing so until opening day, if not later. Several days ago, the 35-year-old spoke with excitement about his plans to reinvent himself with an altered delivery, but he soon stopped throwing amid continued concerns about tendinitis in his shoulder.
It's his second shutdown of the spring. Scioscia said it was a matter of developing strength.
"I wouldn't say he's starting over, but there's no doubt that some issues have come up that he's dealing with and working his way through," Scioscia said. "We're going to let it go at its own schedule. You can't force these things."
The timeline means Wilson will not return to the majors until at least May. Scioscia said the Angels have not discussed surgery for Wilson, who will become a free agent at season's end.
The Angels waived right-hander Deolis Guerra, one of two men they picked in December's Rule 5 draft. Guerra cleared waivers and elected free agency. The Angels are now attempting to re-sign him to a minor league deal, according to a team spokesman. "His arm is real," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt that his stuff is good. He's got size, he's got angle. He's just had a little problem with command." … Ji-Man Choi, the Angels' other Rule 5 selection, remains on the roster bubble. … The team also optioned catcher Jett Bandy to triple A, leaving 43 players on their spring-training roster.