Jered Weaver could be in line to start All-Star Game

Reporting from Miami —

Not only does Jered Weaver appear to be a lock for the July 12 All-Star Game in Phoenix, the Angels right-hander could be in line to start for the American League.

Weaver (9-4) is tied for the AL lead in wins, ranks second in earned-run average (2.01), innings (1161/3 ) and shutouts (two), third in opponents’ average (.193) and fourth in strikeouts (102).

The right-hander’s stiffest competition to start appears to be Detroit ace Justin Verlander, who is 9-3 with a 2.54 ERA, a league-leading 110 strikeouts and 1202/3 innings, two shutouts, including a no-hitter, and a .181 opponents’ average.


But Verlander is currently in line to start the Tigers’ final game before the All-Star break, which would make him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game.

Weaver has three more starts before the break, Sunday in Dodger Stadium, and home games July 2 against the Dodgers and July 7 against Seattle. If he stays on schedule, Weaver would be aligned to start the All-Star Game on regular rest.

“Oh God, I think we’re a little ways away from that,” Weaver said, when told that speculation about him starting the All-Star Game has already begun. “I still have a couple of more starts to worry about. I don’t want to jinx it.”

Slow-go for Rodney

Reliever Fernando Rodney is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, but the right-hander appears to be at least another week away from returning from the upper-back tightness that has sidelined him since June 9.

Rodney tried playing catch in New York last weekend but felt so much discomfort he was shut down. He did not throw before any of the three games in Florida. He hopes to resume throwing Friday afternoon in Dodger Stadium.

“I tried to throw a couple of days ago and was still feeling it,” said Rodney, who is 2-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 26 games. “They wanted me to do more exercises. This is the first time I’ve had anything like this, so I don’t know when I’ll be back. But I’m getting closer.”

Sweat shop

The combination of Tuesday’s one-for-15 performance with runners in scoring position, a heat index of 95 degrees and Wednesday night’s game being the ninth of a 12-game, 14-day trip prompted Manager Mike Scioscia to cancel batting practice Wednesday night.

“When you’re struggling on offense, the first course of action is to work harder, and we’ve exhausted that,” Scioscia said. “I don’t think we’re going to get so much out of game prep today than we would by trying to clear our minds and come out fresher mentally.”

Scioscia tried a similar tack after a sluggish 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on June 7, but the Angels went two for 13 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3 loss to the Rays the next day. It worked a little better Wednesday — the Angels had five extra base hits and scored four runs in the third inning.

Pride of Maracay

With his second-inning single Wednesday night, the 2,333rd hit of his career, Bobby Abreu moved into a tie with Andres Galarraga for third place among baseball’s all-time Venezuelan hit leaders.

Abreu then moved ahead of Galarraga with a two-run homer to right in the third. Omar Vizquel (2,823) and Luis Aparicio (2,677) rank one-two on the list.