Weaver has precautionary MRI on neck

Already thin Angels rotation awaits news on veteran righty's tests

Weaver has precautionary MRI on neck

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' celebrated starting-pitching depth is getting tested early.

C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs are projected to start the season on the disabled list, Matt Shoemaker has given up four home runs in five Spring Training innings, and now Jered Weaver has a stiff neck.

Weaver underwent an MRI exam on Thursday morning that the team deemed precautionary. While addressing the media after his team's 5-3 loss to the D-backs later that afternoon, Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't know whether the veteran right-handed starter would miss any time. Scioscia did, however, believe the ailment hindered Weaver during his outing Wednesday, when his fastball topped out at 81 mph.

Scioscia on Weaver's start

"Hopefully, he'll get to a point where he'll get this behind him," Scioscia said of Weaver. "We all believe that if he can, it'll help him to extend more and he'll be able to get into his delivery a little bit. He felt a little hampered yesterday. You could see that he wasn't quite where he needed to be."

Skaggs and Wilson are well behind the other starting pitchers in camp, but Scioscia believes they're "coming quickly."

Skaggs, easing his way back from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to face hitters in batting practice on Saturday. Wilson, recovering from a brief bout with left shoulder tendinitis, "felt good" in his return to the mound on Thursday, Scioscia said, and is slated for another bullpen session on Saturday.

But the Angels are nonetheless down to six starting pitchers -- Weaver, Shoemaker, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano and Hector Santiago -- for five rotation spots to begin the season.

Heaney briefly fell behind, getting scratched from his first start last week due to illness, but he put together an encouraging debut on Thursday.

Throwing mostly fastballs, the 24-year-old left-hander pitched two scoreless innings at Tempe Diablo Stadium, giving up just two hits and a walk in a 38-pitch outing. Heaney has no doubts he'll be ready once the season begins, and the Angels will certainly be counting on him.

"I think they know what I can do, but it doesn't mean that I have a spot, necessarily," Heaney said. "I think they know what I'm able to do, and that maybe gives me some comfort in getting my feet on the ground and getting a good base and knowing that [since it's] Spring Training, I can go have a bad outing, I can go have a bad inning, I can work on things and not feel like I'm just constantly under the microscope. But at the same time, I don't think I can come in here and stink it up and have a job waiting for me."

Worth noting
• After Thursday's game, the Angels optioned shortstop Roberto Baldoquin, second baseman Alex Yarbrough and outfielder Chad Hinshaw to Minor League camp, where position players will hold their first workout on Saturday. Starting-pitching prospect Kyle McGowin -- ranked No. 16 in the system by MLBPipeline.com -- was sent to the Minor League side on Tuesday. The Angels are down to 51 players in camp.

• FOX Sports West will broadcast 150 Angels games during the regular season, starting with Opening Day vs. the Cubs on Monday, April 4. Play-by-play man Victor Rojas and analyst Mark Gubicza will return to the booth for their seventh season. The "Angels Live" pre- and postgame shows will once again take place beneath Angel Staium's big red hats during home games.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.