Angels spring update: Jered Weaver to step into the batter's box against Chicago Cubs ace
Manager Mike Scioscia said he had no hesitation starting Jered Weaver against the Chicago Cubs in an exhibition game Wednesday, even though the game will be played in a National League park in Mesa, Ariz., which means Weaver will have to bat against Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.
Actually, Weaver will have to step into the box against Zambrano. He won't actually bat. Angels pitchers have been under strict orders not to swing the bat in National League parks this spring to reduce the risk of injury. Those who do will be fined an undisclosed amount that is apparently pretty hefty.
Asked what the fine is for a pitcher swinging, Scioscia said, "These guys don't want to find out. They can swing in May [when interleague play starts]. I want to get them through spring."
Weaver, who is aligned to start Monday night's season opener against the Minnesota Twins in Anaheim, made his last start in a minor league game, where the Angels could better control his workload.
The Angels had the option of using Weaver in a minor league game again Wednesday, but Scioscia thought it was more important that Weaver, who will be peeled back to four or five innings today, face major league hitters in a big league environment.
"It's important for him to get the adrenaline where it needs to be," Scioscia said. "He just pitched in a minor league game, and he's stretched out, ready to go. Having him stand up there [to hit] a couple times is not an issue compared to what we're going to gain by having him pitch in a major league environment for four or five innings."
Most of the Angels regulars returned to Southern California in advance of this weekend's games against the San Diego Padres and Dodgers in Anaheim and Los Angeles. The Angels also optioned pitcher Sean O'Sullivan to triple-A Salt Lake.
The Angels lineup for today's game against the Cubs:
2B Maicer Izturis
LF Michael Ryan
3B Brandon Wood
C Mike Napoli
1B Robb Quinlan
CF Peter Bourjos
RF Terry Evans
SS Gary Patchett
P Jered Weaver
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Mesa, Ariz.