As we all saw last night, Jered Weaver returned to action for the Angels and he was back in more than just his mere presence. Weaver dominated the Dodgers through six innings, racking up seven strikeouts in the process. It was a tantalizing performance indeed. But it wasn't the end result that is piqued my interest but rather how he went about doing it.
It only took four pitches for Weaver to flash what we hadn't seen from him in some time. That would be the 91 MPH fastball he used to blow away Carl Crawford. For most pitchers 91 MPH is nothing to brag about, but for Jered, it was a minor miracle considering he had not touched 91 MPH, much less broken 90 MPH, since a start on September 23rd, 2012. There were only four starts in between due to the off-season, but the velocity dropped further and further in each game despite the layoff. The low came in his previous start where he never even hi 89 MPH before he inadvertently broke his non-throwing elbow.
Now almost two months later, Weaver is back to his old self, sort of. That 91 MPH pitch was the only pitch that high on the radar gun and he didn't touch 90 MPH again after the first inning. What he did though was consistently work at 88 and 89 MPH with his heater averaging out to 88.16 MPH on the night. That is two full MPH more than he averaged in his final start before his injury. Most encouraging of all, his final fastball of the night was measure at 88 MPH, so he was able to hold the velocity despite not having built the kind of arm strength he normally would have at this point of the season.
So, how did he do it?
There were a few notable differences between Weaver's last night and Weaver back in April. First and foremost, Weaver was obviously coming off a lot of rest since he had to sit idle with his broken left elbow. That could explain the velocity spike, but we didn't see a similar effect after Weaver had a whole off-season to rest up. What we do know about Weaver when his velocity started to dip late last season was that he was plagued by tendinitis in his biceps. The Angels led us to believe that this cleared up over the winter, but perhaps it didn't. For reasons that the team never fully explained, Weaver ended up needing eight weeks to recover from his broken elbow even though the original prognosis suggested he'd miss between four and six weeks. It is almost like he was nursing an injury to his pitching arm as well only the team never told us. They would never do that, right?no comments