Notes: Weaver, Colon coming around
Recovering righties look sharp in Minor League outings
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The pitching picture was as bright as the desert sun in the eyes of manager Mike Scioscia and the Angels brass on Tuesday.While Dustin Moseley was controlling the heavy-handed Chicago White Sox in a 12-2 decision at Tempe Diablo Stadium, strengthening his bid for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, there were developments with positive ramifications on neighboring fields. Jered Weaver threw 47 pain-free pitches with consistent command, and Bartolo Colon hit 94 mph on the radar gun, highlighting what Scioscia called an "incredible" afternoon for the two right-handers continuing to march toward rotation slots. Facing a lineup that included Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Joe Crede and former Angels outfielder Darin Erstad, Moseley held the White Sox to two runs -- one courtesy of a gift double on a ball lost in the sun -- in six innings. The 6-foot-4 right-hander scattered eight hits, walked one, hit a batter and delivered six strikeouts, finishing Cactus League play 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. Scioscia hasn't named Moseley as his fifth starter but referred to him as a "strong option" along with Hector Carrasco, the tireless long reliever. There figures to be at least two starts for the No. 5 man before Weaver returns. "No one's told me," Moseley said of a possible start against Oakland on April 6 in Anaheim, "but if that happens, I've been feeling pretty crisp. "I threw strikes down in the zone, and they put the ball in play. I got a double play, and the defense played real well behind me." "He pitched very good baseball," Scioscia said. "He changed speeds, had a good changeup. Dustin puts us in a great position with Bart and Jered down, with Hector throwing well and with Joe Saunders bouncing back after his [forearm] stiffness. Those guys are where they need to be."
Weaver, Colon shine: Weaver effortlessly worked three scoreless innings against Cubs Triple-A players at the Angels' Minor League facility, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out three."Everything felt good," Weaver said. "I snapped off a few good breaking balls. I'm right on schedule."
That schedule has the 6-foot-7 Weaver zeroing in on an April 16 start in Boston, his bout with biceps tendinitis in his rearview mirror.On an adjacent field, Colon hit the strike zone with 22 of 29 pitches. His worst delivery was an errant pickoff throw leading to an unearned run on a broken-bat hit. Facing Cubs Double-A hitters after throwing bullpen and batting-practice sessions, Colon yielded three hits and two runs (one earned) in two innings, striking out two. The 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner was limited to 10 starts last year with a tear in his rotator cuff. "Weav looked terrific," Scioscia said. "The ball was coming nice and easy out of his hand. He threw some good breaking balls, some good offspeed pitches. It's a great first step. On Sunday, he'll go four innings and 60 pitches [in a camp game]. He's on his way. "Bart had great velocity. He got a little bit fatigued, but the big thing with Bart's game is hitting his spots. He touched 94, and when he gets in that range, you know he's feeling good. I'm pleasantly surprised with where Bart is." Colon, set to throw on Saturday, could be back by May. Special visitor: Muhammad Ali illuminated the Angels clubhouse before Tuesday's game, taking photos with the players and offering his best wishes. The swiftest of all heavyweights moved carefully with the aid of a walker, but the famous glow was in his eyes, especially whenever a child appeared. ... Kelvim Escobar, who left his previous start with a back spasm, threw a bullpen session without pain and will work a camp game on Thursday in preparation for his April 3 start against Texas. ... With an attendance of 100,304 for Cactus League play, the Angels eclipsed the 100,000 mark for the third time. They'd previously done it in 2004 and 2005. One rainout cost them the club record for the spring. Up next: Right-hander Nick Adenhart gets his third start of the spring on Wednesday in Phoenix against Oakland, which will start right-hander Dan Haren. Adenhart has held hitters to a .125 average in 9 2/3 innings with a 2.79 ERA. In preparation for his Opening Day start against Texas, John Lackey will pitch in a Minor League game against the A's. For the opening of the Freeway Series with the Dodgers on Thursday night, Carrasco will face Randy Wolf at Dodger Stadium, followed by Ervin Santana vs. Jason Schmidt on Friday and Joe Saunders against Brad Penny on Saturday in Anaheim. A split-squad will face Milwaukee's Chris Capuano on Thursday in Maryvale, Ariz., with right-hander Matt Hensley getting the start.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.