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Jered Weaver Injury: Pitcher's Troublesome Back Won't Cool off Red-Hot Angels

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 28:  Starting pitcher Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is attended to after injuring himself, as manager Mike Scioscia (L) and Howard Kendrick (R) #47 look on in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 28, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2012

Jered Weaver's injury might have some in Los Angeles panicking, but optimism is sanity in the City of Angels

The ace of the Angels' pitching staff, Weaver left Monday night's game against the Yankees after three batters when he tweaked his back. According to the team's website, Weaver will undergo an MRI and X-ray on Tuesday before a decision is made.

While that is hardly ideal news for the Angels, it does not have to be the end of the world. In fact, with the way they are playing right now, it is not going to be a crippling blow for a team that is starting to hit its stride. 

The Angels started the season with a lot of expectations, most of which came after signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. They got off to a dreadful 8-15 start at the end of April, and there were a lot more questions than answers going around about this team. 

Weaver and the pitching staff have never been part of the problem. Despite the struggles of Ervin Santana, the rest of the rotation has done a remarkable job of holding the team together. They have the second-best ERA in the American League and lead all of baseball with seven shutouts. 

Weaver, along with Wilson, Santana, Dan Haren and Jerome Williams, kept the Angels in the thick of things for the first six weeks, and now their efforts are being rewarded thanks to improvements from the offense—led by rookie Mike Trout and Pujols' recent power surge. 

Because the Angels have great depth in the rotation and bullpen, they can get by if Weaver has to go on the disabled list, or at least miss a start or two. They have options in Triple-A, like Garrett Richards, if they need a spot starter. 

As long as the offense keeps rolling along, the pitching staff can afford some regression and still keep the team competitive. They may not be the team that everyone was predicting them to be prior to the season, but their recent seven-game winning streak is a sign that they are coming out of their funk. 

Weaver's back injury will turn out to be nothing more than a speed bump. They are too talented to fall back to the pack in the American League West, where teams like Oakland and Seattle reside. 

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