Jered Weaver had already left the ballpark as the Angels’ bullpen was busy ruining his handiwork. He won’t have that luxury of leaving early next week.
In most other ways Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a 7-1 Angels loss at Salt River Fields, had to feel like a regular-season game for Weaver. The Angels’ Opening Day starter allowed two hits, no runs, walked one and struck out three in his final start of spring training. Weaver needed only 87 pitches to get through seven innings.
“It was nice to get under the lights and go out the way you would in the regular season,” Weaver said. “I always try to treat the last game of spring training like a regular season game.”
That he did, against a Diamondbacks lineup that featured at least seven of eight Opening Day position players. (Though it should be noted that three — Jason Kubel, Willie Bloomquist and Aaron Hill, who was hit in the pinkie finger by a Weaver pitch — left with injuries).
David Carpenter could be on the bubble for one of the Angels’ final bullpen jobs … or not. (Getty Images)
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his pitching staff “will have a more situational look in the bullpen” when the regular season begins. It’s not hard to figure out what that means, as there are 15 pitchers currently in camp and 12 will start the season on the active roster.
If it were a regular-season game, you’d be talking about it tomorrow. Josh Hamilton’s first game against the Rangers was overshadowed by a lot of things: a walkoff hit, a four-homer inning, a complete implosion by Jerome Williams and — stop the presses — three damn fine throws from behind home plate by Hank Conger.
But since it’s only spring training (checking my watch, yup, one more week…) it’s getting the postgame bullet-point treatment for posterity.
You’d never guess it, but pitcher Mitch Stetter was among the first players to report to spring training with the Angels.
It wasn’t hard. Stetter lives about 10 minutes north of Tempe. He dropped by early in February, threw about 10 bullpen sessions and hurt his lower back in the 11th. After an initial diagnosis of a stress fracture in his vertebrae, Stetter had a CT scan that revealed a bulging disk.
He’s yet to appear in a spring training game while adhering to a prescription of rest and anti-inflammatory medications. But after throwing a bullpen today, “most likely I’ll take two days off then pitch Sunday,” Stetter said.
The Angels added a potential closer in Ryan Madson and a proven lefty specialist in Sean Burnett. How all the bullpen roles shake out, and who will be the seventh reliever, are important questions that need to be resolved in spring training.
Only two teams blew more saves than the Angels’ 22 last year. That and a lousy all-around first month cost them a playoff berth, and the rebuilt bullpen needs to be better in 2013. Here’s the complete list of spring training invitees (non-roster invitees in parentheses):