The frustration is evident in Jered Weaver’s voice. His fastball is slipping away, his neck is creaky and doctors have told him there is not much they can do.
“I almost wish they would tell me I need surgery,” Weaver said Tuesday.
Weaver, 33, the Angels’ ace for a decade, has not pitched in a week. When he last pitched, his fastball averaged 79 mph. The Angels scratched him from his next start and sent him to a spine specialist. The team said Weaver was diagnosed with “degenerative changes” in the vertebrae of his neck.
Weaver said he has a bulging disk on his left side, a condition that he said triggers irritation more than pain, and sometimes a “sensation” in his left arm. He also said that he was told the condition is not connected to the loss of velocity and that he can pitch as long as he can tolerate the irritation.
There are no more tests to be done, Weaver said, and no more doctors to see.
“Dr. Weaver is the one that is going to take it from here on out,” he said.
Asked whether he could pitch effectively with the neck condition, Weaver said, “I’m pitching Saturday.”
He said he has no intention of starting the season on the disabled list, although he acknowledged that Manager Mike Scioscia could decide otherwise.
“If he gives me the ball, I’ll pitch,” Weaver said. “I’ll be ready to take the ball in the opening series.”
Scioscia would not commit to including Weaver on the opening day roster, or even to starting him in Saturday’s Cactus League game. Scioscia said the Angels first want to evaluate Weaver during a bullpen session Wednesday.
However, Scioscia said he remains confident in Weaver’s resilience, determination and competitiveness.
“That’s part of what makes him go out there and pitch really good baseball with stuff that might be a little down,” Scioscia said. “He’s always been able to adapt.”
Weaver has no intention of walking away now. “I’ve got a lot of people to prove wrong,” he said.
The Angels are paying him $20 million this year, the last in his five-year contract.
“I’ll be back at some point,” he said. “You can quote me on that.”
Play of the year
Daniel Nava has had a charmed spring, but this was a bit much.
Nava caught a fly ball in left field and flipped it to a fan. That would have been nice had it been the third out of the inning, but it was the second out, and the Seattle Mariners had a runner on first base.
By rule, that is a two-base error on Nava, and the runner takes third.
Except, as it turns out, the runner has to tag up — even though the ball was dead — because the ball was caught. The runner did not tag, the Angels appealed, and the runner was called out.
“It’s a really strange rule,” Scioscia said.
This is spring training, so Nava could joke.
“Knowing the number of outs,” he said, “is kind of important.”
Nava had two hits Tuesday; he is hitting .619 in 21 spring at-bats. And, thanks to that really strange rule, he still has no errors.
He did give himself a little homework. He was going home, to learn from his daughter.
“She’ll teach me tonight how to count to 10 — or 3,” Nava said.
His daughter is 2 1/2 years old.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin