Weaver to return, face Giants on Wednesday

Weaver to return, face Giants on Wednesday

Weaver to return, face Giants on Wednesday
ANAHEIM -- The Angels will get their ace back Wednesday, when Jered Weaver is activated off the disabled list to make his first start in more than two weeks.

Weaver, who suffered a strained lower back in the first inning of his May 28 outing against the Yankees, came out of his Sunday bullpen session feeling good and is now slated to pitch the series finale against the Giants, with Dan Haren sliding back to Friday.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver will be on an 80- to 90-pitch limit and that the club hasn't decided who will be bumped from the rotation -- though all signs point to the young Garrett Richards being optioned back to Triple-A despite an impressive showing.

"It's been a long little trek here," Weaver said. "It's long enough sitting out four days in between starts, let alone 15. I've been champing at the bit a little bit to get out there, so it's exciting to know that it's close and that everything feels good."

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Starting Wednesday, instead of Friday, would give Weaver the benefit of extra rest due to off-days the following Thursday and Monday. Going down for a rehab start wasn't an option, Scioscia said, because "there's not much sense in going down there and wasting some bullets."

Weaver said he felt "normal" one day after his bullpen session, which came two days after a 60-pitch simulated game Friday, and described himself "symptom-free." But he knows his back is something he'll now have to monitor throughout his entire career.

"I'm 6-foot-7 and lanky and I have a lot of torque going on," Weaver said, "so I'm sure it's not the last time there's going to be some back issues going in."

Nonetheless, an Angels rotation that sports the lowest ERA in the American League will be getting back its most talented, accomplished member in Weaver, the 29-year-old right-hander who went 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.928 WHIP (walks plus hits in innings pitched) in his first 11 starts of the season.

But it probably also means they'll be losing Richards, the 24-year-old prospect who has given up two earned runs in 21 innings during his second stint in the Majors.

Weaver went through a similar scenario in 2006, when he impressed as a rookie but was sent back down to the Minors to make room for Bartolo Colon's return.

"It's a tough gig," said Weaver, who was optioned in mid-June but returned three weeks later when his brother, Jeff, was designated for assignment. "[Richards has] done a tremendous job, and obviously I feel for him. Who knows what they're going to do, but I remember that experience, too. It just made me want to go back down and work harder to improve on some things and go back out here."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.