Angels' Weaver due back Wed. to face Giants

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Day after his bullpen session, Angels ace Jered Weaver was raring to go.

So he'll go on Wednesday.

"I've been preparing for a start someday," said Weaver, who will start the series finale against the Giants, his first start since coming out of a May 28 start against the Yankees after just 10 pitches with back spasms. "It's been a long time.

"It's long enough sitting out four days between starts, let alone 15. I've been champing at the bit. It's exciting to know it's close."

The Weaver you see on Wednesday might not be the guy you're accustomed to seeing, at least in terms of duration. The Angels will be watching him closely and likely will not let him throw more than 80 or 90 pitches, manager Mike Scioscia said.

The hope is that Weaver can work into the sixth inning given that number of pitches. And with off days Thursday and Monday built into the planning, he'll get extra time before making his next start next week.

"It's been three weeks" since Weaver has started, Scioscia said. "He's not that far removed from pitching at length. But we have to build it up."

Garrett Richards, of course, is the pitcher most likely to be demoted to Triple-A Salt Lake. But the Angels weren't tipping their hand Monday because there was not yet reason to. No roster move needs to be made before Wednesday.

Summoned to replace Weaver in the rotation, Richards has made quite an impression in going 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA.

"It's a tough gig," said Weaver, who can relate to Richards' current dilemma: Weaver went 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA upon being recalled from Triple-A in 2006 before going back. He returned to the Angels for good on July 3 of that year and eventually ran his record to 9-0 before enduring his first loss.

"You try so hard to get up here, and then you finally prove you can pitch at that level," Weaver continued, sympathizing with Richards. "I remember that experience, too.

"It made me want to go down and work that much harder to get back here."

Weaver, who has suffered back spasms before, has been doing several rehabilitation exercises designed to strengthen the small muscles surrounding the joint in his lower back that gave him difficulty.

"I'm 6-7, lanky and pitch with a lot of torque," he said. "I'm sure this is not the last time I'm going to have back issues."

Weaver said he has a set of back exercises to continue doing, though "not at the pace they had me on when I was on the disabled list."

Weaver, author of one of baseball's five no-hitters this season, is 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 11 starts. His ERA ranks third in the AL.

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