LOS ANGELES -- Jered Weaver completed an aggressive bullpen session at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, setting himself up to likely pitch in a simulated game on Friday and return to the Angels' rotation at some point next week.
Whether that comes in a three-game series against the Giants from Monday to Wednesday or the weekend set against the Dodgers that follows remains to be seen. But Weaver, who exited his May 28 start against the Yankees in the first inning, hasn't experienced any back pain for a while and continues to progress quickly.
The Angels have some flexibility with off-days on back-to-back Thursdays, giving manager Mike Scioscia the freedom to skip one of his starters, shuffle the order or basically insert Weaver at his convenience. Weaver's return could also present a tough decision, with the young Garrett Richards impressing and the tenured Ervin Santana struggling.
"You want to make sure that he's at a certain point," Scioscia said of Weaver, "and that's what we'll focus on through the weekend."
Weaver threw 30 pitches off the front part of the mound on Monday, representing the first time he's progressed off flat ground, then followed that up by throwing 55 pitches from the rubber, where he mixed in all his pitches and let loose on a few toward the end.
"It felt really good," said Weaver, who went 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA through his first 11 starts. "Everything just feels normal."