Weaver 'uplifted' after lengthy intrasquad start

Weaver 'uplifted' after lengthy intrasquad start

TEMPE, Ariz. -- "Uplifting" is probably too strong a word to describe an intrasquad game, especially when you're a Cy Young Award contender who's accustomed to pitching in big settings.

But for Angels ace Jered Weaver, Thursday's 6 1/3-inning outing against his organization's Minor Leaguers at Tempe Diablo Stadium seemed a little bigger than the controlled setting. It was his second-to-last start before Opening Day, and it followed up a rough one against the A's last Saturday, when he gave up eight runs, battled a "dead arm" and only got two innings under his belt.

"It's great that I was able to go out and get up seven times," said Weaver, who gave up two runs on nine hits and struck out five batters. "I think I threw 89 pitches. It's good, with the arm strength, to know that I can at least get through the seventh and it still felt good. I don't think that start before is going to play a factor into me getting deep in games or not.

"It was uplifting, to get out there and feel like I did my first couple starts in spring. That's a good step in the right direction."

Weaver, who also put down a couple of bunts at the plate, will take his last spring turn on Tuesday night against the D-backs at Salt River Fields. Then, he'll make his fourth straight Opening Day start under the National League rules in Cincinnati on April 1.

There was mild and temporary concern that Weaver wouldn't have built up enough stamina by that point, given how short his previous start was and the slight wiggle room that remained. But those concerns were essentially put to bed on Thursday.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who brought Weaver out for one batter in the seventh just so the ace could get up an extra time, noted that Weaver's final 20 pitches were "terrific," and said the right-hander is "definitely on the right track," considering he bounced back just fine.

Is that "dead arm" gone?

"I don't know if it is or it isn't," Weaver said. "I just know that last start, I didn't have a feel for anything and didn't know where the fastball was going and things like that. I don't know if that is it, or if it isn't, but I'm glad that I got on the right track those last four innings, and everything felt on time and felt comfortable out there."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.