Weaver slated to return to Angels' rotation Thursday

Weaver slated to return to Angels' rotation Thursday

ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver is ready to return to the Angels' rotation on Thursday, and he has reason to believe the right biceps tendinitis that forced him to miss his last start is now behind him.

"It seems like it so far," Weaver said Monday, shortly after throwing off a mound for the first time since the diagnosis. "I don't feel any bite [in the biceps] at all and felt good in the bullpen. It's a step in the right direction."

With Weaver feeling better, the Angels' pitching plans for the rest of this critical four-game set against the A's have solidified. Jerome Williams, who has been relegated to the bullpen since late July, will make a spot start Tuesday, opposite Dan Straily. Ervin Santana, on normal rest after starting in Weaver's place on Friday, starts Wednesday against A.J. Griffin. And Weaver -- "Barring any unforeseen setback, which we don't anticipate," manager Mike Scioscia said -- will start Thursday against lefty Brett Anderson.

Weaver could have been slated to start Wednesday. But either way, the Angels' ace was lined up to next start the Sept. 18 series opener against the Rangers and, due to a scheduled off-day next Monday, would've been pitching on extended rest in one of his next two starts. In the end, the Angels decided on giving him the extra rest now and putting him on a regular schedule moving forward.

Weaver still lines up to pitch every five days the rest of the way, giving him five more starts and making him available to pitch the Oct. 3 regular-season finale in Seattle.

"Especially this time of year, you don't want to take any time off," Weaver said. "I'm looking forward to getting back out there."

Weaver probably won't return at 100 percent -- "I don't think any pitcher is pitching at 100 percent right now," he said -- but he feels he'll be a lot more himself. Since first experiencing the tendinitis in his Aug. 6 shutout against the A's, Weaver has a 6.14 ERA. The number skyrocketed because of his Aug. 17 start, when he gave up nine runs in three innings against the Rays, but the Angels' ace hasn't felt totally right in any of his past five outings.

"I just wasn't myself," said Weaver, 16-4 with a 2.86 ERA on the year. "I couldn't get on pitches, certain pitches, when I wanted to. I couldn't throw my slider as hard as I wanted to. I couldn't bump up on fastballs as much as I wanted to. It was biting and felt tight in there, and just couldn't get it out of there. As much as I would like to go out there 80, 85 percent, I just couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to take a break and see if I would feel better, and the little break has definitely helped out."