Weaver: Location more concerning than velo

March 9th, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After a nightmare outing on Wednesday afternoon, the type that can only be mitigated by the time of year, Jered Weaver was able to uncover one positive.

"I made it out unscathed," the Angels' veteran starting pitcher said. "Arm's still attached, so that's a plus."

Weaver recorded only eight outs in his second Cactus League start, an eventual 13-13 tie against the crosstown-rival Dodgers at Tempe Diablo Stadium. He served up three home runs, three other hits and one fly-ball out to the warning track. His fastball topped out at 81 mph, three to four ticks slower than his average from last season.

Last season, 519 different pitchers threw changeups at a higher average velocity.

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"Obviously it's not coming out any better than it has been," Weaver said, "but regardless of that, location was bad. So if I can't locate, the ball's not going to come out, it's going to be a bad combination. I left some pitches up today, and nothing was really sharp. It's just one of those days in spring where they were hitting balls where they should. I have some weeks left."

Weaver's average fastball from 2010-15, respectively: 90.1, 89.2, 88.0, 86.8, 86.8 and 84.9 mph.

The latter number trailed only Mark Buehrle for the slowest among non-knuckleball-throwing starting pitchers, a major reason Weaver lost 12 games, posted a 4.64 ERA and took the mound every night with a razor-thin margin for error. The 33-year-old right-hander spent the offseason rededicating himself to a strict stretching regimen, partly to rekindle some of the life on that fastball -- but he has yet to see results.

"It's obviously disappointing," Weaver said. "It's no secret. I know that I'm not throwing the ball as good as I can be, but it's not going to stop me from working and going out there and taking the ball every fifth day. Hopefully one day it clicks."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia wasn't ready to make proclamations about who Weaver is or who he will be this season.

"Let's see where he is three weeks from now," Scioscia said. "There's still some growth left. I think a lot is being made out of his velocity. Not that you don't need velocity, or it doesn't make some things easier when you have velocity."

Scioscia then referenced a couple of Weaver's best starts of 2015, particularly when he shut down the Astros and the Rangers down the stretch.

"He can do this," Scioscia said. "It's just going to be more command-sensitive."

Weaver topped out at 83 mph in his first Cactus League start against the Cubs on Friday, but he threw two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Afterward, he said, "I was getting wins throwing 79 miles an hour last year, so I'm not really worried about it."

He stuck to that five days later, while throwing mostly 80.

"I think that if I can locate I can get people out at 60 miles an hour," Weaver said. "It doesn't really matter to me. It's where you put the ball. I just wasn't able to put the ball where I wanted to today, and it showed."

Worth noting

• C.J. Wilson, recovering from a brief bout with shoulder tendinitis, is slated to throw a bullpen session on Thursday and then another one on Saturday. He still has to complete multiple steps before pitching in his first Cactus League game.

• Angels outfielder Todd Cunningham, who jammed his left wrist while making a catch against the A's last Thursday, returned to batting practice on Wednesday morning and was hopeful of returning to game action the following day.

• Josh Roenicke, nephew of third-base coach Ron Roenicke, was recently signed to a Minor League contract. Josh Roenicke is a 33-year-old right-hander who made 190 Major League appearances from 2008-13, posting a 4.17 ERA.