Notes: Good day for Weaver, Colon
Hurlers have successful throwing sessions on Friday
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jered Weaver made it back to a mound of dirt on Friday. As happy as a kid let loose at the local playground, he unleashed 30 fastballs without pain in a right biceps that developed tendinitis near the close of his sterling rookie season in Anaheim."Jered's smiling," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's healthy, feels good." "Everything felt great -- all systems go," Weaver said, nodding when asked if he's on target to join the rotation at the outset of the season. "That's my goal, to be ready for April 6. I'm taking it a day at a time." "All fastballs -- down," pitching coach Mike Butcher said of Weaver's effort. "He looked really good -- smooth, free and easy. Just a nice job. Bartolo Colon took another step in his rehab from a rotator cuff tear, throwing 35 pitches in his second bullpen session. "Bart Colon is just really bringing it now," Scioscia said. "We want to make sure he goes through the stages he needs. He's excited, and we're excited. The main thing is that he builds stamina and doesn't have any setbacks." Butcher that said Colon "gets better every time. He looked strong -- very strong." Until Weaver and Colon are ready, Joe Saunders and Hector Carrasco figure to handle the assignments behind John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar. What a relief: Francisco Rodriguez and Scot Shields made their Cactus League debuts, and couldn't have been more impressive, in Friday's 12-4 win over the Padres. Veteran southpaw Darren Oliver also was sharp, giving up one hit and striking out one in two innings. After Rodriguez struck out the side, Shields did the same, giving up a single. K-Rod (tender hamstring) and Shields (shoulder stiffness, bruised shin) both said that they felt strong, with no residual issues. "I'd like to say it's the best bullpen in the big leagues, but we've got to show it," Rodriguez said. "In everything -- ERA, strikeouts, walks -- we're always in the top three. We've got a good starting rotation -- we only ask them to go five or six innings, and we'll carry the rest. To continue to do that, we'll have to stay healthy for our goal of winning the World Series." With Oliver and Justin Speier joining the mix, Shields also is confident that the bullpen is deep and heavily armed again. "Talent-wise, we're pretty good," Shields said. "Take a look at the last couple years, what these guys have done, it's impressive. It's just a matter of doing it." Winning with speed: The Angels stole eight bases on Friday -- two by Curtis Pride -- and had five extra-base hits, including triples by Vladimir Guerrero and Mike Eylward, who also doubled.
Origins of "Truck": Second baseman Howie Kendrick owes his nickname to late singing legend Eddie Kendricks, of the Temptations -- courtesy of Bud Black, former Angels pitching coach, now managing the Padres."In my first big-league camp," Kendrick said, "Buddy Black asked me if I'd heard of Eddie Kendricks from the Temptations. He started calling me 'Truck' from one of his songs, 'Keep Truckin'.' Ever since then I've been 'Truck.' " Truck is in high gear, carrying a .500 average (nine hits, 16 total bases) after going 2-for-3 on Friday with a stolen base and two runs scored. "He has the potential to hit second through fifth [in the lineup]," Scioscia said. "He's going to be in major groupings of any offense in baseball. "Right now we're probably going to start him lower in the order, but I can see him driving the ball well enough to hit in the middle of the lineup -- and he can run well enough to score 100-plus runs." In 267 at-bats with the Angels last year, Kendrick hit .285 with four homers and 30 RBIs. At 23, he's solidly constructed -- 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds -- and figures to get stronger. "I'm a guy who hits for average," he said. "I'm going to hit line drives, do whatever I can to get guys over and get runs in. I don't ever think about trying to hit a home run. It just happens." Dignitary visits: Former New York mayor and GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani made an appearance at Friday's game, dropping by the Angels' dugout. "He's impressed with our club," Scioscia said, "but he wouldn't put on an Angels cap. He said, 'I know you've got a cameraman here, and those pictures would go to [Yankees manager] Joe Torre.' He loves the Yankees." Kendrick said that he wasn't aware he was shaking hands with a presidential candidate when Giuliani appeared. "But I know now," Kendrick said, grinning. Up next: Santana puts his Cactus League scoreless streak of five innings up against Seattle on Saturday, facing right-hander Miguel Batista at Tempo Diablo Stadium. Santana has given up three hits and two walks in his five shutout innings, striking out two.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.