Angels’ Jered Weaver lags behind in spring schedule
Jered Weaver has not been absent during this first week of spring training, but he has been marked, by his own admission, as “tardy,” lagging behind fellow campers in his throwing program.
While many Angels are pitching off the mound, Weaver is long-tossing at 180 feet, the arm issues that forced him to open the 2007 season on the disabled list having resurfaced this winter.
“It’s the same stuff, different year, you know?” Weaver said Thursday. “It kind of tightens up on me in the off-season, so I know the routine now. I take it slow in the beginning, stretch my arm out, get some strength back. I feel good. It’s getting better every day.”
Manager Mike Scioscia tried to put some distance between Weaver’s current problems and those in 2007, when Weaver got off to a very slow start in spring training and was criticized by some in the organization for not working hard enough over the winter.
Weaver, diagnosed with biceps tendinitis and a tired shoulder, opened 2007 on the disabled list but was activated in mid-April and went 13-7 with a 3.91 earned-run average in 28 starts.
“That was a youngster throwing more innings than he ever had in his life [in 2006] trying to find the balance between getting your rest and getting back up for the next season,” Scioscia said. “He’s learned from that. Some pitchers need a little more time to build up to what they need, and Weaver is one of those.”
Asked if there were similarities between this spring and 2007, Weaver said, “It’s the same kind of feeling, nothing we haven’t dealt with before.”
The difference is, in 2007, the Angels did not know Weaver’s arm was tight until camp opened. This winter, the problem flared up in early January, and Weaver immediately notified the Angels, who had him come to the stadium for the next five weeks or so for treatment and strengthening exercises.
Weaver, who went 11-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts last season, didn’t pitch in any exhibition games in 2007. This spring, he is scheduled to begin throwing off a mound in a week to 10 days.
“We didn’t get to it as quickly [in 2007] as we did this time,” Weaver said. “But I’ll be on pace to start the season. I definitely have enough time to get going. I’m on schedule . . . just a little tardy.”
Feeling a draft
The Angels gained a nice haul of draft picks because of the compensation they’ll receive from three free agents -- Mark Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez and Jon Garland -- they lost this winter.
The team will have five picks in the 2009 draft before it even made its first pick -- the 73rd overall selection -- in 2008. The Angels will have two first-round picks, at Nos. 23 and 24.
The high picks should help the Angels restock their farm system, which is not as highly regarded as it was earlier this decade, but signing the picks will add several million dollars to the team’s operating budget.
Reliever Jose Arredondo will leave the Angels on March 1 to join the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic camp, but the right-hander is not a lock to pitch in the event.
Arredondo, who went 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA as a rookie in 2008, is on the Dominican’s provisional roster and must make the team to pitch in the WBC.
“You have to make sure he’s ready if he’s asked to pitch,” Scioscia said. “We think he would be ready for it.”