Jered Weaver not sure of return
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Angels ace Jered Weaver is unsure how long he'll sit out to rest his biceps tendonitis.
Los Angeles' 16-game winner insists he'll return before the end of the season to help the Angels in their playoff chase.
"It just came to the point where I couldn't keep going out there at 75, 80 percent," Weaver said Friday. "It definitely didn't make the decision very easy, knowing we're trying to make a push in September, and I want to be a part of it. I want to take the ball every fifth day."
Instead, he's missing at least one start while hoping his arm bounces back. An MRI exam on his right shoulder this week revealed tendonitis after he was hit by a line drive in his last start -- which has absolutely nothing to do with his injury, Weaver emphasized.
"It's nothing new in my career," said Weaver, who's second in the AL in victories. "I've dealt with biceps tendonitis a lot, even in high school and college. This one has been lingering a lot longer than usual, though."
The Angels skipped Weaver in the rotation Friday in the opener of a seven-game homestand against Detroit, with Ervin Santana taking the start on normal rest. Weaver has lost three of his past five after a 16-1 start to the season, slowing down another impressive season right when the Angels desperately need his steady presence in an inconsistent rotation.
But Weaver can't throw his slider or fastball lately without pain. He's been trying to survive through games on guts and guile, sometimes throwing an 84-mph fastball that makes him embarrassed to look at the radar gun.
Weaver won't predict when he'll return, either.
"It just all depends on how it responds," he said. "You'd like to just skip the one start, and (see) signs it was getting better. There's no timetable, really. ... I'm not taking the rest of the year off. I've got to go out there at 80 percent if it doesn't get any better to make another four or five starts."
Weaver has faced the most significant injury woes of his career this season, yet none of it had thrown off his game until his past few starts.
He threw a no-hitter against Minnesota on May 2 and began a 10-game, 2½-month winning streak shortly thereafter. Weaver made his third straight All-Star team this summer despite missing three weeks to rest a back injury.
The Southern California native's 2.86 ERA is fourth-best in the AL despite allowing 21 runs in his past five starts, and opponents are batting .216 against him, second only to Detroit's Justin Verlander. But he has just 121 strikeouts in 25 starts after racking up 233 in 34 starts two seasons ago, and Tampa Bay battered him for a career-worst nine runs in an ugly home start last month.
Weaver will throw on the side Saturday to determine the next move.
"It's something Weave has been dealing with for a handful of starts," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We all feel it's important for him to take a step backwards and see where he is. Weave has pitched very well when he's not 100 percent. It just got to the point of where it was affecting some of the things he was needing to do. ... We're just letting it calm down, and he'll start to play catch on the weekend and see where he is."
If Weaver misses more than one start, the Angels must hope the rest of their touted rotation remains solid. Santana, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson have all struggled through stretches of the season, but the entire rotation has been sharp along with newcomer Zack Greinke while the Angels won 12 of their past 15 games heading into this key seven-game homestand.
Los Angeles began the weekend 2½ games behind Oakland for the second AL wild -card spot after sweeping a three-game series with the Athletics earlier this week. Tampa Bay was between the Angels and A's at 1½ games back, while Detroit is only three games behind the A's.
Scioscia didn't say who will take Weaver's turn in the rotation next week during a four-game home series against Oakland. Jerome Williams, Garrett Richards and new callup Barry Enright are all possibilities for the job.
"We've got some guys that can start," Scioscia said.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press