Jered Weaver Rehab: Round 2
Tuesday night, Jered Weaver took the mound for Angels high class-A Inland Empire 66ers, against the Padres single A team Lake Elsinore Storm; in what he and the Angels hoped to be his last rehab start before coming off the disabled list from a hip injury that has kept him out of the rotation since late June. Weaver cruised through the first 3 innings looking unhittable, while throwing only 30 pitches with 5 strikeouts. 3 swinging and 2 looking, including a nasty curve ball that baffled Storm right-fielder, Nick Schulz and had the crowd in awe. The 4th inning started off rough for Weaver when he had a ball off the end of the bat, go off of his glove. A bad toss to first allowed Donovan Tate to advance to second base. A single by Nick Torres, the first hit of the game for the Storm moved Tate to 3rd base and a sac fly to left-center field off the bat of clean-up hitter Marcus Davis, brought Tate to the plate. The inning ended with a fly-out to left field. Weaver threw 18 pitches in the 4th inning.
The 5th inning saw Weaver struggle a bit as well, throwing 17 pitches and allowing a home run down the left-field line by Chase Jensen. As the game went on Weaver was clearly getting tired. The plan before the game was for him to go 5 innings and throw 80-85 pitches, but he stretched himself out to the 6th inning because of his still relatively low pitch count at 67. Weaver gave up another home run by Tate to left-center field to tie the game at 3. After a walk to Schulz, the 66’ers defense came through for Weaver as center fielder Bo Way tracked down a Torres fly ball then threw a perfect strike to Eric Aguilera at first to double-up Torres. After an error by 66’ers second baseman Kody Eaves, 66ers manager, Denny Hocking, took one-step out of the dugout. Weaver glared at him and waved him off, signaling he wanted one more batter. Hocking obliged to the 6 foot 7 inch veteran right-hander. Unfortunately Weaver walked DH Ryan Miller on a 3-2 pitch and his night was over as Hocking went and got him, ending Weaver’s night with 84 pitches 56 strikes and 28 balls. The final line for Weaver was 5.2 innings 3 hits 3 runs 2 earned 2 walks and 5 strikeouts (all in the first 3 innings.).
“He looked good out there tonight as he had more velocity and seemed more comfortable,” Hocking who faced Weaver at the end of his playing career for the Minnesota Twins said. “His stuff was much crisper and he seemed to have better command. What I liked most was after the error in the 6th inning I was about to go get him and he said to me ‘Give me one more batter’. We all know that he is a bulldog, unfortunately he couldn’t quite get the last guy, but overall he looked good.”
Jered Weaver throws his first pitch in his second rehab start. Next step Anaheim?
After the game Weaver talked about his outing saying “I felt good out there. A lot crisper than last time, was able to throw the ball the way I wanted to, hopefully the next start will be in Anaheim,” Weaver said. “Yea, I was maybe getting a little tired. I was exerting a lot of energy out there, it was pretty warm but I got the work in that I needed to. I was working on certain pitches towards the end there that I probably wouldn’t have thrown in other situations. For the most part I felt good man. I’m ready to go. My hip and body felt great and I didn’t have any soreness. Next step f is to get back to Anaheim and see what they have to say.”
With the recent injury to C.J. Wilson who went down last week with reported bone spurs in his leftpitching elbow. Weaver was asked if their was a sense of urgency to get back. “A little bit, yea. I mean we have this off day on Thursday that helps me not having to come back as quick. Obviously him going down is a tough blow to our staff. We’ve got some young guys who have been throwing the ball well and have been stepping up. It’ll be nice to get back into this rotation and help the team a little bit.”
The other parts of his rehab Weaver said have been “Stretching the hip out and grinding it out. Working with the massage therapist and trainer a lot just trying to strengthen it up. It’s come a long way and feels a lot better.” Weaver who has not pitched since June 20th for the Angels said. “If I had not dealt with this hip issue when we did it would have been something that I would of had to battle through all season. I had to look myself in the mirror and realize that I needed to get this thing back to where it needed to be and we’ve done that. Its been a long process and it’ll be good to get back out there.” The true definition of being a team player. He knew he would only hurt the team in the long run so he sat back and got himself healthy. A truly respectable act, by a class act.
Weaver also reflected on his time in the minor leagues, 11 years ago, saying “It felt good to be back and to be in a position where I could help mentor the young pitchers and pass down some of the wisdom that I have gained throughout my career,” (He also bought the team Outback Steakhouse for after the game.) Weaver who had a 1.93 ERA in 9.1 innings during his two rehab starts said. “It’s fun being back here but I’m looking forward to getting back to the Big A.”
Weaver hopes to be back in the rotation on Sunday but says that choice is not his. The final decision remains in the hands of both the coaching staff and medical staff. “I’m just trying to get out there and do what I’ve done throughout my career and hopefully I’ll have a little better ending than I did to start.” This is music to the Angels and their fans as it has been six weeks since his last start for the Angels.
Then Weaver switched gears as he talked about the mental side of pitching as well and how he has had to adjust through his career and he credits renowned sports psychologist, Ken Ravizza, who has helped him since his time at Long Beach State University “Just keeping my emotions in check. I wore my emotions on my sleeve early in my career. I’ve learned to kind of calm that down. It’s not the end of the world and there is always another start. The biggest things, I’ve learned is to control my emotions and not get too pissed off out there,” Weaver said with a laugh. “Three years with him (Ravizza) at Long Beach was definitely something that I took in and bought into what he was saying. Some of the stuff I still use to this day. Knowing when to back off the mound, take a deep breath. All that kind of stuff. I really owe him a lot to where I am today, as far as composure, and stuff on the mound. He’s one of those guys where if you buy into, its going to work for you.”
Weaver said that his opinion of his two starts were more about his health and how he was feeling, than it was about results and that he has come out of both starts feeling good. “Hopefully, tomorrow my body responds the way it did after the first start, then I can get back and help the team.” Let’s hope so. With the team struggling recently Weaver’s return could be a shot in the arm for the club as they try to chase down the Astros and win the AL West.