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Aching Anaheim Angels

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There's a story in the L.A. Times today about injuries amongst the Angels pitchers.

K-Rod has a hamstring that is giving him problems, and Kelvim Escobar is still dealing with the patellar tendon problem that has dogged him since early last season, but the more serious issue involves Jered Weaver, who is a couple of weeks away from throwing off a mound:

Of bigger concern is the tightness in Jered Weaver's throwing shoulder, which the right-hander said will prevent him from throwing off a mound for "a couple of weeks," and could pose problems for the rest of his career.

"The way I throw, it's going to be an issue -- I've had it since high school," Weaver, 24, said of the biceps tendinitis that forced him to miss a start last July. "It sticks around for a long time, and it's a matter of knocking it out. With my long mechanics and different arm slot, I put a little more stress on my shoulder."

An increase in workload from 76 innings in 2005 to 200 innings in 2006 forced Weaver to cut back on his winter throwing program, which has set him back this spring. An MRI test in January revealed nothing more than tendinitis.

At this point in his career, it would be almost impossible to overhaul Weaver's mechanics, "but we can make some subtle changes," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has a pronounced turn toward the plate, and the deception in his delivery could put a strain on his shoulder or elbow.

"It's something he's lived with for a long time, and something he'll have to battle to keep his strength where it needs to be so he can pitch with those mechanics."

Weaver struggled some late in the season -- he gave up 11 runs in 14 1/3 IP in his final 2 games, and his ERA went from 1.92 to 2.56 over his final 6 starts of 2006.

His explosive debut on the major league scene makes you forget that he was just 23 last year, and he pitched just 76 innings in 2005 before going exactly 200 between AAA and the majors in 2006. Coming off that sort of increased workload, and with his mechanical issues, there seems to be a real possibility of Weaver hitting a sophomore slump in 2007.

Just one more thing to keep an eye on this spring...