Daily Distractions: Jered Weaver was better than even he expected.

Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver threw harder Wednesday than he did in either of his two starts in April (Will Lester/ Staff Photographer)

Of all the positives the Angels could take from Jered Weaver‘s performance last night — just having him back on the mound stands out as the first — maybe the best is that he’s throwing faster.

According to FanGraphs.com, Weaver topped out at 92 mph on his fastball and threw it for an average speed of 87.3 mph, compared to 85.8 and 85.1 mph in his first two starts, respectively. All his pitches were faster across the board. He also got a lot more horizontal movement on his two-seam fastball and changeup, and the results followed: Weaver allowed five hits (four singles) and one run in six innings while striking out seven.

“When you haven’t been out there for a while,” Weaver told colleague Clay Fowler, “you kind of ask yourself `Can I still do this?'”

Yes. You can do it better.

Some bullet points for a Canary Islands Day:
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Daily Distractions: Remembering Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Lewis YocumDr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels team physician who died Saturday, worked at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic for more than 30 years. Yocum didn’t invent Tommy John surgery – Frank Jobe did – but he made it faster.

“Some of the little refinements that we do, he helped develop them,” Jobe said. “For example, he’d drill the holes. At he time it took a while to get the holes just right took to get the lead sutures through those holes, he was able to find a way of doing that real slick, so that cut about 15 minutes off the operation time.”

And yet, when I asked Jobe to identify Yocum’s legacy, he went with something completely different. Click the link above to see what he said.

I talked to a lot of people about Dr. Yocum yesterday and the vast majority of what they said didn’t fit in my story for the newspaper. So here’s the rest, in bullet-point form for a Wednesday afternoon:
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Jered Weaver is ready to make a rehab start after simulated game at Angel Stadium.

Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver threw a simulated game Friday, his first since going on the disabled list April 8. (Associated Press)

Jered Weaver couldn’t sleep last night. He had a big game today.

It was a simulated game with no fans, and only a few players and media and coaches, in attendance. But Weaver was psyched up.

“That’s how excited I was,” he said. “I haven’t been able to do it (pitch) in five weeks.”
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Daily Distractions: Fishing for answers in Salt Lake.

Mark Trumbo

Mark Trumbo’s power is unquestioned. Who can save the Angels’ sinking ship remains to be seen. (Keith Birmingham/Staff Photographer)

Many comparisons have been made between the 2013 Angels and the 2012 Angels, with both teams beginning the season with high expectations and underachieving badly in the first month. Here’s another point to consider: The Angels’ answer a year ago didn’t come from their major-league ranks.

Rather, it came from Triple-A Salt Lake in the form of Mike Trout. Trout was batting .403/.467/1.091 when he bid the Pacific Coast League adieu, likely for a long time. The biggest problem facing the Angels now is health, with Ryan Madson, Kevin Jepsen, Mark Lowe, Sean Burnett and Jered Weaver forming a potent disabled list. If the five are healthy, 2013 is a different story already.

Since they’re not, it’s tempting – but disappointing – to peek at who’s waiting in the wings at Triple-A. There is no Mike Trout.

If you’re looking for pitching help, the Bees’ top five starters are 6-12 with a 6.43 earned-run average. That doesn’t include recent signee Kip Wells, who allowed two runs in seven innings in his debut Sunday. And it’s not as if the Angels aren’t already auditioning arms — they’ve used 18 pitchers already this season with a 19th, Ryan Brasier, on the 25-man roster waiting to make his debut. No major-league team has used more than 19 pitchers this season.

As position players go, Luis Jimenez has been a nice lift in the lineup and on the field since being recalled. But a number-nine hitter can only do so much; his three singles in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.273, two RBIs) are sadly above average for this team (.225).

Bill Hall and Matt Young, two veterans who vied for major-league jobs in spring training, are hitting .206 and .241, respectively. Brad Hawpe is batting .237 with one home run to show for his first 38 at-bats.

So it’s probably not a question of who is ready to step up from Triple-A. It’s who will start pitching, who will start hitting, and who is available on the trade market?

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