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Scioscia: Weaver again pitching like ace

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ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver seems to be rounding back into his ace form.

Over his last four starts, the 31-year-old right-hander has a 1.78 ERA, giving up five runs in 25 1/3 innings, while striking out 18 batters and walking six. And on Monday night, he worked out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the eighth to complete eight innings of one-run ball with a season-high seven punchouts.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who left Weaver in the game despite having 98 pitches under his belt when the jam began, said it was "the best stuff that he had, and maintained, in quite a while."

How long?

"It was even a tick better than what we saw two years ago," Scioscia said, referencing a 2012 season that saw Weaver win 20 games and finish third in American League Cy Young Award voting. "That's encouraging."

Weaver's average fastball velocity was 86.9 mph on Monday, which is tied for the April 12 outing for the highest of the season. He hit 87 mph twice in the eighth inning, reached 88 mph on five separate occasions -- including three times after the fifth -- and even touched 89 mph once.

As Scioscia said, "It just seemed like it was fun for him last night."

Most encouraging was the life Weaver had on his fastball and the command he had of all of his pitches. Weaver believes that's a byproduct of finally starting to regain some strength in his right arm, after going roughly six months without working out after suffering a broken left elbow on April 7 of last year.

And he believes he can keep getting stronger.

"This last week or so, I've been doing some workouts that can take some tension off the biceps tendon," said Weaver, whose had a sensitive biceps tendon for most of his career. "I haven't been able to do the lifting that I'm usually doing; it's more core stability and stuff like that. After that last start, I've been doing the old-school lifting again. We're trying to maintain that through the course of the season -- through the next start, at least."

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.

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