Coming off DL, Weaver enjoys uptick in velocity

Coming off DL, Weaver enjoys uptick in velocity

ANAHEIM -- The first batter Jered Weaver had faced in nearly two months on Wednesday, Carl Crawford, struck out on the ace pitcher's first 90-plus mph fastball since 2012.

"It's in there somewhere," Weaver said with a wry smile, after twirling six innings of one-run ball in his first start since breaking his left elbow on April 7. "It's just a matter of getting that arm strength back and maintaining it."

Weaver has constantly said he "doesn't really buy into velocity anymore" because he can offset it with good command, location and deception. But he also said Wednesday that the ball was "coming out a lot better than the radar gun was saying" and that his arm "hasn't felt this good in a while."

Weaver threw only one of his 87 pitches in the 90s, but sat comfortably between 86 to 88 mph with his fastball and ventured up to 89 on occasion, which is a couple ticks faster than where he was in his first two outings of the season and essentially on par with where he was in 2012.

"There's no doubt, the velocity was there," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said. "That's plenty of fastball for him. With his command, and I think it's going to get better as it goes, if he can maintain the command of his fastball, move it around like he can, and he can incorporate his offspeed pitches, he's going to have success."

Asked why the velocity was up, Butcher pointed to all those weeks of long-tossing that helped Weaver build up additional arm strength while he waited for his left elbow to heal.

Catcher Chris Iannetta believes he never had time to work into his stuff before.

"He was just back to being Weaver," Iannetta said. "He didn't finish the year the way he wanted to the last couple starts, and then coming out of spring he was still building up, getting back into form, and obviously that was cut short by the elbow [injury]. But what I saw last night was awesome."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for 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.