Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/29/12
ANAHEIM, Calif. The Angels may have the best starting rotation in the American League, but they're going to be without their best pitcher for at least the next 15 days. Right-hander Jered Weaver was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strain in his lower back and won't be eligible to return until June 13. That means he'll probably miss at least three starts, including Sunday afternoon against the Texas Rangers. The news comes at a bad time for the Angels, who activated outfielder Torii Hunter from the restricted list and took a seven-game winning streak into their game against the New York Yankees. They face the West-leading Rangers in a key three-game series starting Friday night at Angel Stadium. "As a starting pitcher, you live for games like this, especially against the Yankees and obviously your rival in your division," Weaver said. "It couldn't have come at a worse time." The Angels called up Garrett Richards from their Triple-A affiliate at Salt Lake, although manager Mike Scioscia said it was undecided whether Richard will take Weaver's spot Sunday against the Rangers. The Angels have a day off Thursday, so they can stay in their rotation without having to use Richards until next week. Scioscia said Richards would be available in relief Tuesday night. Weaver injured his back after throwing just 12 pitches Monday night against the Yankees. He underwent an MRI and said his injury was diagnosed as a strain with some spasms. There was also inflammation in the area surrounding a disk, he said. "This is new for me," he said. "I've never gone through something like this." For the next several days, Weaver will undergo ice treatments and massage in the hope his condition settles down. At least that's what the Angels are hoping. "I think everyone believes this is going to be very manageable, and hopefully it won't be too long," Scioscia said. "But there's no doubt it's going to take a little bit of time. We definitely have to give him enough time to see when he's ready to go back out there and get after it." The Angels discussed not putting Weaver on the DL, thinking he might miss just one start. But clearly, they believed a cautionary route was best in order to prevent a recurrence. "If it would've been later in the season and we were pushing the playoff race, I don't think we would've gone the DL route," Weaver said. "But now it's early enough in the season where we can get it back to 100 percent and go about it that way. I think that's the best thing." Richards, who turned 24 on Sunday, had a 5-2 record and 4.31 ERA in 10 starts at Salt Lake. He endured one tough three-game stretch starting in late April when he gave up 22 hits and 14 earned runs in 9 23 innings. Last season, he pitched in seven games (three starts) for the Angels and was 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA. He joins a starting rotation that leads the American League with a 3.36 ERA and had a 2.38 mark on the recently completed 10-game trip. "We got some other guys in the rotation that are pretty good, so I'm not worried about those other guys stepping up and doing a great job," Weaver said. "Garrett's got great stuff. I don't want him to get too comfortable out there, but he's going to help out, no doubt about it." That's all the Angels are asking from Richards. "It's really unfortunate what happened to Weav," Richards said, "but for me, I can't think about that kind of stuff. I have a job to do. They called me up here to help the team and that's what I'm going to try to do."
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