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Angels' Jered Weaver could return to rotation this week

The ace pitcher, who has been on the disabled list since suffering a lower back strain May 28, will throw a bullpen session Sunday.

June 16, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Angels pitcher Jered Weaver could be back in the rotation this week after more than two weeks on the disabled list with a lower back strain.
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver could be back in the rotation this week after… (Anda Chu / Oakland Tribune…)

Jered Weaver reported to the Angels' clubhouse Saturday without any pain from his intense simulated game Friday.

If he gets through a scheduled bullpen session Sunday in similar comfort, the Angels ace could be back in the rotation this week.

Weaver (6-1, 2.61 earned-run average) has been on the disabled list since suffering a lower back strain May 28 while pitching against the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium.

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver hasn't missed enough time to automatically require a rehabilitation start in the minor leagues.

Scioscia said Weaver probably will throw 35-40 pitches Sunday after throwing 60 in the sharp simulated game that included his full arsenal of pitches.

Said Scioscia: "If he throws a power 'pen,'" then returning directly to the big leagues "is doable, without a rehab start."

Weaver is expected to go "full-gorilla," in the bullpen, Scioscia said. "If he executes his pitches, we'll have an idea," that he'll be ready for game action later this week.

Scioscia was vague about who Weaver will replace.

"We'll have some decisions to make," Scioscia said.

Morales at first

Kendrys Morales earned his third start of the season at first base Saturday, and said the occasional spot is what he most enjoys two seasons after breaking his ankle in an infamous home run celebration.

"I'm prepared to do it when they need me to … it's the best thing," Morales said through an interpreter.

Typically slotted at designated hitter, Morales, batting .281 with seven home runs and 23 runs batted in before Saturday's game, said playing his old position now occupied by Albert Pujols "keeps me more awake and focused on the game."

Pujols served as designated hitter Saturday.

"Not feeling any discomfort is confirmation I am all the way back," Morales said.

Pain check

Reliever Scott Downs said he's ready to pitch in a game after tweaking a rib on a line-drive comebacker Sunday in Colorado, but Scioscia indicated he preferred a more cautious approach.

"He's very close," Scioscia said. "He wants in there, but he wanted in there," earlier this season, "when his ankle was pointing the other direction."

Catcher Chris Iannetta, on the disabled list since May 10 with a fractured right (throwing) wrist, was to be examined before Saturday's game by Angels team physician Lewis Yocum, "and we're hoping to restart his throwing program in the next couple of days," Scioscia said following a prior setback.

Short hops

Pujols declined to discuss receiving his St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 World Series ring from former manager Tony LaRussa on Friday night. … Scioscia said outfielder Peter Bourjos, displaced to the bench by the emergence of Mike Trout, is expected to play Sunday. "There's guys performing at a high level who need to be out there," Scioscia said of Trout, Mark Trumbo and Torii Hunter.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com twitter.com/latimespugmire

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