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Sides Far Apart on Weaver

Times Staff Writer

The Angels decided to play hardball with pitcher Jered Weaver, giving the first-round pick until midnight Wednesday to accept a $4-million signing bonus before pulling it off the table, but the representative for the former Long Beach State ace hardly blinked in turning it down.

Agent Scott Boras remained open to the possibility of Weaver’s being signed before June 7, the day the right-hander would re-enter the draft and the Angels would lose his rights. According to a source, any subsequent Angel offer would be lower than the one on the table.

That leaves the sides millions apart, the chances for an agreement remote, and the Angels in jeopardy of losing their first-round pick from June’s draft.

“We notified the Angels earlier [Wednesday] that our position has not changed,” said Boras, who originally sought a deal in the $10-million range but lowered the price to $8 million last week. “Arte [Moreno, the Angels’ owner] and I have a good relationship, and they’re a fine franchise ... but I felt from the start this was never a negotiation. I don’t know why they drafted Jered and took the position they took.”

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Weaver, the brother of Dodger pitcher Jeff Weaver, went 15-1 with a 1.65 earned-run average, 201 strikeouts and 19 walks in 136 innings last season. Many considered him the top college pitcher in the draft, but he fell to 12th because several teams would not meet his asking price.

The Angels, according to a source, offered a five-year major league contract worth $5 million to $6 million. The team also offered a $4-million bonus in a minor league deal, which was more attractive to Boras because the bonus would be paid up front instead of over five years, and Weaver would be arbitration-eligible for three years.

General Manager Bill Stoneman would not confirm the ultimatum, issued Tuesday.

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Bartolo Colon, pitching to starting catcher Bengie Molina, gave up one hit and struck out one during a scoreless, nine-pitch inning in Wednesday’s intrasquad game.

Backup catcher Jose Molina caught most of Colon’s games in 2004 and developed a rapport with the Angel ace, especially when compared to his brother.

Colon had a 3.84 ERA in 140 2/3 innings with Jose Molina catching, and a 7.56 ERA in 66 2/3 innings with Bengie Molina catching. But with Bengie having lost about 25 pounds and in excellent shape this spring, Manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t expect Jose to be Colon’s personal catcher this season.

“Last year, it just developed where the statistics were like night and day between Jose and Bengie,” Scioscia said. “It was a little surprising because Bengie works so well with all our guys. I think it will be different this year because we’re going to use Bengie as much as we can, and Bart should throw the ball better.”

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Jarrod Washburn gave up one run on four singles in the intrasquad game. The Angels got a scare when first base prospect Casey Kotchman was hit in the right hand by an Eric Cyr pitch, but the ball caught some of the bat handle as well, and Kotchman remained in the game.... Angel right-hander John Lackey will oppose San Francisco’s Brett Tomko in today’s Cactus League opener in Tempe Diablo Stadium.


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