Results tagged ‘ Jered Weaver ’

Napoli, DH

Here’s how the Angels will line up against Andy Pettitte — rain is falling on a tarp in the late afternoon — at Yankee Stadium:

1. Chone Figgins, 3B

2. Gary Matthews Jr., RF

3. Bobby Abreu, LF

4. Torii Hunter, CF

5. Mike Napoli, DH

6. Howard Kendrick, 2B

7. Robb Quinlan, 1B

8. Jeff Mathis, C

9. Erick Aybar, SS

Jered Weaver, P

 

This is a big night for Napoli and his fans.Manager Mike Scioscia putting the big bopper in the DH spot could be a one-night stand, or it could be the start of something big — and productive.

Napoli has a big, long swing — and the highest home run ration in history among catchers. Critics would scoff that it’s a small sample, representing just 50 home runs, in relation to past receivers of renown such as Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench and Roy Campanella.

But Napoli is a born hitter. Jeff Mathis is a terrific catcher, young and getting better all the time. It makes great sense to have both of these guys in the lineup, as often as they can handle it. That’s why it seems like the right thing to do — Napoli as DH, catching occasionally, with Bobby Wilson summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake to back up Mathis.

Quinlan, a .417 career hitter against Pettitte with a double, two RBIs in 12 at-bats, also gets a start at first base in the wake of a rough night for Morales in the series opener. Kendry was hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times, after a recent surge of hits.

Old school to the bone, I do not like the idea of carrying 12 pitchers. I didn’t care for going to 11, frankly. I recognize that the bullpen has been beaten up a little bit in the season’s first month, but four position players off the bench reduces a manager’s options late in games. I’d rather have that extra bench player than a reliever who is there primarily to soak up innings in lost causes, after a starter has been knocked out early.

We’ll see if it lasts, Napoli as a DH, or if it’s a one-time thing. But I like it. I like it a lot. I think Napoli, with 550 to 600 at-bats and free of the physical burden of catching frequently, can hit 40 homers and drive in more than 100 runs.

“Nap’s got big-time power, man,” Hunter said the other day. “The guy can mash.”

Tonight, Napoli will be protecting Hunter, the cleanup man, in the No. 5 hole.

Surely, a factor in Scioscia’s decision is Napoli’s history against Pettitte. He’s 3-for-5 with a double. But when he’s locked in, seeing the ball well and driving it, no yard can hold him. Napoli in the batter’s box is a weapon.   

Weaver wobbly in debut

Held back by some early-spring right shoulder tightness, Jered Weaver didn’t get through the first inning in his Cactus League debut against the Indians on Wednesday — but he showed no signs of physical discomfort.

Weaver’s issue was with the strike zone. He had trouble finding it. His best pitch was to first base, picking off Jamey Carroll after his leadoff flare fell into right field for a single. Weaver walked David Dellucci on a full count and Travis Hafner hit a bullet over the pitcher’s head — barely — for a single. That might have gotten into Weaver’s head a little, because he went to 3-0 on Victor Martinez before he flied to right. But line drive singles by Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Garko ended Weaver’s day after 26 pitches.

His line: two-thirds of an inning, four hits, one walk and one earned run — thanks to reliever Ryan Brasier, who retired Josh Barfield to leave the bases loaded.

Weaver was elevated to No. 3 starter before throwing his first pitch with Ervin Santana (sprained right elbow ligament) starting the season on the 15-day disabled list.

 

Weaver throws off mound for first time

Jered Weaver, taking it more slowly this spring than last year when he came out of the chute blazing, threw off a mound for the first time and was feeling good afterward.

“I threw 25 fastballs,” he said, “and everything felt good.”

Weaver has made 200 innings his goal this season after falling short by 23 1/3 innings last year. He has had periodic shoulder issues, so the slower pace this spring was precautionary more than anything.

“I want to be ready when it counts,” he said. “I’m not interested in being the Cactus League pitcher of the year.”   

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