- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Angels' presumptive No. 1 starter takes his first public step of 2011 by making his spring debut this afternoon (12:05 p.m., FSW) against the Cincinnati Reds.
I asked Jered Weaver the other day whether he would snap his fingers and repeat last year's performance, if such things were possible. He had to think about it for a little while. After all, he led the majors in strikeouts and finished in the top five of the American League in WHIP and ERA, two of the better measures of a pitcher's abilities.
Eventually, he settled on no.
If he can master a cut fastball, his pet project this spring, he thinks he can be more effective. And besides, all of last season's mastery didn't net Weaver much. His record was 13-12, and the Angels didn't go anywhere in October other than home.
"I think the whole season overall was frustrating," Weaver said. "It's not something we're used to seeing around here. A lot of fans got a little spoiled. It was a little off year, some guys were hurt and it didn't go our way. But there's always next year, and we're going to obviously improve on the things we weren't very good at last year."
I asked Weaver whether his spike in strikeouts had anything to do with the shoddy outfield defense behind him for the first four months. Before Peter Bourjos arrived to push Torii Hunter to right field, the Angels probably had the worst corner outfielders in baseball with Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu.
Weaver said it was just a coincidence.
"I just try to go out and get strike one, strike two," Weaver said. "If a strikeout happens, it happens. It didn't have any effect on what I was doing out there."
By the way, manager Mike Scioscia hasn't announced his Opening Day starter yet, but if Weaver got four days off the rest of this spring, he'd be on target to pitch that March 31 game in Kansas City.