The Los Angeles Angels beat the New York Yankees on Monday night on Mark Trumbo’s walk-off home run. But the dramatic victory came with a far more significant loss as Angels ace Jered Weaver left the game in the first inning with a lower-back injury.
Weaver faced only four batters when he pulled up awkwardly on just his 12th pitch of the game. After walking around the mound, he attempted to throw a warmup pitch with minimal velocity and then left the field.
“It felt like somebody stabbed me in the back,” Weaver said after taking muscle relaxants during the game. “I’ve never felt anything like that before. It’s disappointing. You get up for games like this.”
Weaver has been up for just about every game this season. He entered the night tied for second in the American League in wins (6) and third in ERA (2.61). This season Weaver already has a no-hitter to his name, and once again he’s been the most consistently dominant force in the Angels rotation.
“I can’t really bend over too much,” Weaver said. “I tried to throw that second pitch, but there was no way. The way the team is playing right now, I’m one of the guys that wants to be out there.”
And for a team that ranks 22nd in the majors in runs scored (thanks in part to Albert Pujols), the ability of Weaver and the rest of the staff to keep their team in contests has been critical to keeping L.A. hovering around .500. The Angels said they will wait until Weaver undergoes an MRI and X-rays Tuesday before determining whether a disabled list stint is necessary, ESPN Los Angeles reported.
“We’re going to look at a couple of things and see what we need to do,” said Angeles skipper Mike Scioscia. “He’s stiff now, but we’ll have the exams tomorrow and make a decision.”
Weaver finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Justin Verlander last fall, and this spring he has put himself right back into the conversation.
The offseason signing of C.J. Wilson gave Los Angeles a powerful top trio along with Weaver and right-hander Dan Haren. And while Ervin Santana and Jerome Williams have been productive at times at the back end of the rotation, Weaver is the team’s most valuable weapon on the mound across the board. An extended absence could make it even more difficult for the Angels to keep pace behind the surging Texas Rangers, who already own a 6 1/2 game lead in the AL West.