Weaver set to start for AL in All-Star Game

Weaver set to start for AL in All-Star Game

Weaver set to start for AL in All-Star Game
ANAHEIM -- Despite being selected for his first Major League All-Star game last season, Jered Weaver wasn't able to pitch because he started the Sunday before. This year, he'll not only pitch -- he'll be starting.

Weaver confirmed Sunday he had been anointed the American League's starter by AL and Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. The Angels right-hander is 11-4 and leads the big leagues with a 1.86 ERA. He will be the first Angels pitcher to start in the annual showcase since Mark Langston did in 1993.

Washington called Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Sunday morning, who then informed Weaver of the news.

"I was very excited," Weaver said. "Never in my life did I think I'd be starting an All-Star Game, let alone be in an All-Star Game. ... I 'd like to thank Ron for giving me the opportunity to go out and start it."

The 6-foot-7 righty's most recent gem -- a complete-game victory against Seattle on Thursday in which he allowed just a single run on six hits and one walk -- was his fourth complete game of the season. He has gone at least seven innings in each of his last nine starts, surrendering 10 earned runs during that span

Weaver had previously deflected most discussion of his prospects to start in the game, but admitted it's something he -- like many other kids -- fantasized about while growing up.

"You're playing ball in the cul-de-sac -- I'm Pedro [Martinez] this time or I'm Roger [Clemens] this time, or whatever," Weaver said. "For it to come full circle and to be a part of starting an All-Star Game is very surreal, and I'm looking forward to it."

Perhaps no one has sang the praises of Weaver more frequently than fellow Angels starter Dan Haren. Even before Weaver's last outing against Seattle, Haren said he couldn't "see anyone else getting [the start]."

Weaver's 1.86 ERA is also the lowest ever by an Angels starter entering the All-Star break. Frank Tanana's 2.15 ERA going into the 1977 break was the previous best mark.

"To have a sub-two ERA in the American League, Jered reminds me of Pedro [Martinez] back in that day," Haren said. "Everyone knows about Weav, but he doesn't get enough [recognition]. I know he doesn't care about that, but he deserves it."

A more economical approach to Weaver's craft has brought him not only an improved ERA from the impressive 3.01 mark he posted last year, but it's also allowed him to go deeper into games. Weaver entered the season with four complete games in his career, and he's matched that total this season.

That improvement has also resulted in fewer strikeouts for the Majors' 2010 strikeout king, but Weaver is OK with that.

"I just go out there and I'm trying to limit the strikeouts," Weaver said. "Just try to get guys out on the first three pitches, or whatever. Obviously, Scioscia's letting me throw the ball a little bit more, as far as pitches go, than he has in the past. I've proven a little bit that I can throw some extra pitches and that's also helped me out getting deeper in games as well."

Just as an AL All-Star, there's obviously little doubt Weaver is one of the best pitchers in his league. But many others -- including Scioscia -- believe the Angels' 28-year-old right-hander is among the best in either league.

"To be honest with you, I don't know if at any one time you can pick the best pitcher [in baseball]," Scioscia said. "But what I look at is a top-five, and on any given day, you can call any one of them the best pitcher. Weav is clearly in that group. Not only in our league, but in just the little we've seen of the other league, but in all of baseball. He's solidly in that top five, and that's quite a grouping to be in."

Weaver was selected as an All-Star last year for the first time in his career, but wasn't able to pitch because of the rule that disqualifies pitchers who start on the preceding Sunday before the game.

"It would have been nice to pitch [last year]," Weaver said. "It was great to just be a part of it. It was nice to be able to sit down and take it all in. ... This year, I got the nod to pitch, and I'm very excited to get the opportunity to go out there and face the National League's best."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.