Notes: Rotation spinning its wheels
Weaver and Escobar come to Angels camp slowed by injuries
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Alarm bells have yet to sound, but the Angels are taking a cautious approach with Jered Weaver.
The 24-year-old right-hander that posted an 11-2 mark with a 2.56 ERA as a rookie last season is beset by biceps tendinitis, a condition that has plagued him in the past. Weaver said he's not overly concerned, but he will be limited to flat ground work and may not get on a Spring Training mound for another two weeks.
"I just have to get back in gear and take some time," Weaver said.
Part of Weaver's success can be traced to his delivery. At 6-foot-7, Weaver is able to hide the ball behind him, which limits the amount of time that a hitter can see his pitches. He also believes that puts added stress on his body.
"The way I throw, it's obviously going to be an issue. I've had issues with it ever since high school, ever since I was little," Weaver said. "It's just something that I've got to deal with and work it out."
Weaver had an MRI a couple of weeks back that was negative, so there is no structural damage. But the Angels want to work Weaver in slowly before exhibition games start and not jeopardize the start of the regular season.
"I don't think it's anything that's going to be extended to where he's going to miss any appreciable time of the season," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think we're going to see where it is when he gets on the mound and it should happen shortly. If it takes two weeks, it takes two weeks. But I don't think it's going to be that long yet."
Not so fast: Another pitcher that will be taking it easy is Kelvim Escobar, who is trying to work through patellar tendinitis in his left knee.
The right-hander does not feel pain when he pitches but when he runs and does some drills. Escobar played with the condition through much of last season and hopes to minimize it this spring through therapy and treatment.
"Last year it was kind of on and off, on and off. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes I don't. At one point in the season it never went away," said Escobar, who will be examined by team orthopedist Lewis Yocum in the next couple of days. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to get better. Exercise it and stay away from running for a little bit. That should help and the inflammation will go away a little bit."
Escobar threw a bullpen session Thursday and will throw another Saturday. There is no plan yet to limit Escobar to flat ground work or stop throwing altogether, but the Angels will monitor his progress.
"It's something he could pitch with," Scioscia said. "It keeps him out of some of these drills but he gets his conditioning in other ways. ... If he had to pitch in a game, he could pitch with it and he showed he could pitch with it last year. It shouldn't be an issue."
Escobar suffered tendinitis in his right elbow last season and had a start pushed back in July. In 2005, he went on the disabled list three times and had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. With Bartolo Colon out (he's recovering from last season's partially torn rotator cuff) and Weaver also being held back, the Angels need Escobar, who went 11-14 with a 3.61 ERA last season, to be a part of the rotation.
"At some point a pitcher has to get out there and run to do your conditioning. And you have to do PFP because that's what you're going to do in a game," Scioscia said, referring to pitchers' fielding practice. "Right now it's not an issue. We have plenty of time."
Still strong: One pitcher the Angels won't have to worry about any more is Barry Zito. The left-hander signed a seven-year, $126 million deal to pitch for the Giants.
Zito posted a 102-63 mark during his seven seasons with the A's, but Scioscia believes Oakland's pitching staff will still be formidable.
"They have great balance, they have developed a terrific rotation and they have a starting rotation with a terrific blend and some good young arms," Scioscia said.
Location, location, location: John Lackey recently bought a house in Newport Beach, Calif., and quickly lauded his decision.
"I was outside in shorts and a T-shirt playing catch every day. I talked to my dad back home; he was trying to have some high school workout. It was snowing," Lackey said.
Asides: Colon threw from 90 feet Friday. ... Francisco Rodriguez has a sore hamstring. ... Chone Figgins reported to camp Friday and played long toss with Minor League outfielder Nathan Haynes.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.