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Angels' Jered Weaver is looking past loss in arbitration hearing

ANGELS SPRING TRAINING REPORT

Pitcher says he is not holding any grudges against the team after being beaten in the process and is planning on 'pitching my butt off for the Angels.'

February 13, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Jered Weavers works against the Dodgers in an interleague game at Angel Stadium.
Jered Weavers works against the Dodgers in an interleague game at Angel… (Los Angeles Times )

Reporting from Tempe, Ariz. — Jered Weaver emerged from his arbitration loss to the Angels unscathed, a relief to fans who feared the often-contentious process might sour the ace on the club as he moves closer to free agency.

But any chance the Angels have of securing Weaver to a long-term contract will probably have to wait until next winter, because negotiations have stalled, and there are no jumper cables in sight.

"From my understanding, it didn't go anywhere," Weaver, who reported to camp Sunday with pitchers and catchers, said of recent talks between the team and agent Scott Boras.

"I'm open to it. I would love to play with the Angels for a long time, and if we can get something done, we will. But I don't want it hanging over my head through the season."

Weaver spent four hours Wednesday in Phoenix at his arbitration hearing, after which a panel ruled he would receive the $7.365-million salary the Angels offered for 2011. Weaver, who was 13-12 with a 3.01 earned-run average and a major league-leading 233 strikeouts last season, asked for $8.8 million.

"It was kind of fun," Weaver said of the hearing. "It wasn't like sitting in math class where I wasn't paying attention. It was interesting. …You wish you didn't have to do it, but this game has become very business-oriented."

Such hearings can bruise the egos of players, because teams are forced to disparage them to prove why they are worth less. But Weaver, 28, had "no hard feelings" toward the Angels.

"It wasn't too harsh," Weaver said. "I have pretty thick skin, so nothing they said really bothered me that much. This decision won't have any effect on me pitching my butt off for the Angels."

Weight watchers

Everyone in the clubhouse did a double take Sunday when catcher Bobby Wilson, who lost 33 pounds over the winter, walked in.

Wilson, who moved up on the depth chart when Mike Napoli was traded, hired a nutritionist, adopted a diet heavy on protein, fruits and vegetables "instead of cheeseburgers and chicken fingers with French fries," and went from 243 pounds to 210.

"When you have an opportunity, you have to take full advantage," said Wilson, who played in only 40 games as a third catcher last season but will challenge Jeff Mathis for the starting job this spring. "I made a commitment [to lose weight]. The next step is to keep it off."

The weight loss should help Wilson's mobility and ease the burden on his knees, which were sore last season.

"I want to feel better," said Wilson, who got married in December. "I want to be a little more athletic back there."

Reliever Kevin Jepsen also appeared much slimmer, but the right-hander lost 14 pounds, going from 242 to 228.

"I carry all my weight in my face, which stinks," Jepsen said. "I can't hide when I get fat."

Butcher has cancer surgery

Pitching coach Mike Butcher underwent surgery Thursday to have his thyroid removed after a cancerous growth was found on his neck. Team spokesman Tim Mead said the cancer "was caught in the early stages" and that Butcher's prognosis is "good."

Butcher, wearing a neck brace, participated in some meetings Sunday, but he will be limited early in camp.

"It's important for him to have this issue settled and to be recovered enough to do what he needs to do," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He might not be on the field [Monday], but I anticipate this being a short-term thing."

Short hops

The Angels got around to announcing Sunday that shortstop Erick Aybar, who suffered a minor tear in his left knee in June, had arthroscopic surgery in October to clean out the knee. Aybar has been cleared to play and will work out beginning Monday. … First baseman Kendry Morales, who suffered a season-ending broken leg in May, has been cleared to practice, but Scioscia said "he's not quite running 100%" and will not begin defensive drills for another week or so.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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