The Angels returned a key piece to their lineup Tuesday in right fielder Torii Hunter but lost the ace of their rotation when Jered Weaver was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a lower-back injury.
Weaver, injured on his 12th pitch Monday night against the New York Yankees, was told he had a strain, spasms and inflammation around a disk. He is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks.
"It couldn't come at a worse time," said Weaver, who didn't record an out against the Yankees and will miss a start against the American League West-leading Texas Rangers. "As a starting pitcher, you live for games like this, going against the Yankees and your division rivals.
"But it's a lot better today than it was yesterday. This is probably the best news I could have gotten. It's disappointing missing two or three starts, but I'm going to work my tail off to do whatever it takes to get back on the mound."
Weaver, who has a 6-1 record with a 2.61 earned-run average in 11 starts, is on the DL for only the second time in his career. He said he experienced some "tightness" in his lower back over the weekend, but after receiving treatment by the team's athletic trainers he "felt fine two days before my start."
Once the inflammation and tightness ease, Weaver will begin a program to strengthen his lower back and core. Next will be a throwing progression from catch to long toss to a mound.
No timetable has been set for Weaver's return, "but everyone believes this is going to be very manageable, that it won't be too long," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "The best thing right now, in talking to the medical department, is to take a step back, calm it down."
The Angels recalled 24-year-old right-hander Garrett Richards from triple-A Salt Lake to fill Weaver's rotation spot. With Richards not needed to start until Sunday at the earliest and the bullpen combining for nine innings Monday, Richards was available in relief Tuesday night.
Richards was 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in seven starts for the Angels in 2011. He was 5-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 10 starts at Salt Lake but walked 23 in his last six games.
"It was just a couple of bad outings," Richards said. "I feel like I'm back on track right now."
Hunter, on the restricted list for two weeks while he dealt with the arrest of his 17-year-old son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, on suspicion of sexual assault in Texas, was reinstated Tuesday and started in right field against the Yankees. To make roster room for Hunter, the Angels sent utility infielder Andrew Romine to Salt Lake. … C.J. Wilson, who left Sunday's start in Seattle after six innings because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand, threw long toss and said the finger felt normal. … First baseman Albert Pujols made his third start of the season at designated hitter. "He's been grinding," Scioscia said. "We just want to give him a day off his feet."