With Wilson gone for the season, the Angels’ rotation needs a Weaver to put it back together
By David Rice
With Jered Weaver already on the disabled list since late June, the Angels did not need any more bad news regarding their starting rotation. Unfortunately they got some anyway as C.J. Wilson was placed on the 15-day DL due to inflammation in his left elbow and will most likely miss the rest of the season. Wilson who was roughed up in last Tuesday’s start against the Astros which saw the lefty last only four innings giving up six runs on 6 hits and blowing an early 4-1 lead that the Angels offense had given him.
So far this season Wilson has been up and down having nights where he is close to unhittable and then other nights where he can’t even get through five innings. Wilson’s record is 8-8 with a 3.89 ERA. According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.Com, http://m.mlb.com/news/article/140411536/cj-wilson-may-have-surgery-on-left-elbow, Wilson announced after having an MRI on Friday that he has “loose bodies” in his left elbow that have restricted him from pitching the way he needs to be effective so he is looking at having surgery which would put the lefty out for the remainder of the season. With this injury it will make the job easier for manager Mike Scioscia as he was faced with the unenviable task of deciding who to bump from the starting rotation upon Jered Weaver’s return from the DL.
The most likely candidate to be bumped from the starting rotation had been Matt Shoemaker. Despite pitching very well over the last six weeks where he saw his ERA plummet to a respectable 4.24. which was down from 5.63, Shoemaker seemed to be the odd-man out. Now Shoemaker’s spot in the rotation seems to be safe for the rest of the season. For now we will have to see who takes C.J’s spot in the rotation until Weaver’s return. On Sunday, the Angels did a bullpen start as Cory Rasmus got the ball and pitched three innings against the Dodgers only allowing a two-run homer by Howie Kendrick. Rasmus was followed by Cesar Ramos (1 inning) and Jose Alvarez (2 innings) which bridged the gap until the 7th inning where the Angels could use their regular bullpen pitchers in their standard roles. Unfortunately it left the bullpen depleted for extra innings which forced Angels manager Mike Scioscia to use rookie Drew Rucinski in the 10th inning and he gave up the game-winning two-run homer to Andre Ethier.
With Weaver making another rehab start Tuesday for the Inland Empire 66’ers, if all goes well he could return to the Angels’ rotation in time to make start Sunday against the Orioles. If Weaver is able to do so, then the Angels may not have to worry about Wilson’s spot much longer, as they have an off day Thursday which will allow them to skip Wilson’s spot in the rotation and use Andrew Heaney Friday, and then Richards on Saturday before Weaver takes the ball on Sunday. If however, Weaver is still not quite ready then most likely the Angels would call up Nick Tropeano to fill Wilson’s spot until Weaver can return.
In a sidebar to this story it was also reported by MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez as well as other sources, that some of the Angels players have privately questioned the severity and timing of Wilson’s injury. These players who were not named in the Gonzalez story thought that Wilson could have continued to pitch through the pain. Now I am no doctor and don’t claim to be one either. I’m not going to question Wilson’s injury for the following reason. If he feels that his elbow hurts too much to pitch and he needs surgery, then let him be. I for one do not want a pitcher on my team who feels like he cannot be effective when he pitches. If Wilson were to try to tough it out for the remainder of the season with his current mental state I doubt he would do very well. I would rather he gets the surgery done if that’s what is decided to be the best course of action by the doctors. At least Wilson will come back stronger next year. Now if that will be in an Angel uniform remains to be seen as there have been talks that the Angels may try and trade Wilson, who will be in the final year of his contract, before the 2016 season begins. Reason being the Angels have plenty of arms for next season with Tyler Skaggs hopefully returning to the rotation from Tommy John surgery, and Heaney, Santiago, Richards, and Weaver all under contract for next season as well. Not to mention Shoemaker is still a viable option if needed and Tropeano as well. It will be interesting to see what direction the Angels choose to go.
As for this season I just have one thing to say in closing, Jered come back ASAP we need you.
Jered Weaver who is been on the DL since late June hopes to be back in about a week. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson hopes to be back strong in 2016. But will it be with the Angels? Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports