Weaver to make Padres debut against Dodgers
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will put a bow on the season-opening series on Thursday with a matinee affair. They will do so with the Padres presenting a pitcher whose name has graced the Southern California marquee before: Jered Weaver.
The 34-year-old right-hander, who spent 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, will make his Padres debut in familiar territory.
Weaver’s diminishing velocity is well-documented, but he made it to the post 31 times last year, pitching to a 12-12 record with a 5.06 ERA.
The Padres are hoping Weaver can add stability to a staff that is considered the team’s weak link.
Manager Andy Green said all signs point to Weaver doing just that.
“He’s gone through what he would consider to be his typical spring progression,” Green said. “A few outings back, he ran into a dead arm, and he runs into it every spring training; he has been around the block a few times.
“But his (velocity) was up, more than any time in spring training in his last session, and he said his arm felt good. He should be incredibly fresh and good to go.”
Weaver, who is 6-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers, will face Brandon McCarthy, another veteran right-hander trying to extend his career.
McCarthy, a 12-year pro, appeared in just 10 games last year, all but one of them in a starting role. He began the year on the disabled list after Tommy John surgery. Then a bum hip cost him the last month of the season.
He has done well against the Padres over the years, recording his most wins (seven) against any team. McCarthy owns a 7-1 record and a 3.88 ERA in nine starts vs. San Diego.
“I think we’re excited about it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of McCarthy’s return.
With McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu getting back in the rotation, the Dodgers possess starting depth others can only dream of.
“To have the luxury of putting Alex Wood in the ‘pen because Hyun-Jin and Brandon are ready, that is a good thing for us,” Roberts said. “It proves we have a lot of depth whenever those guys take the mound.”
The Dodgers took it to the Padres in winning two of the season’s first three games.
“We’re going to be a resilient ballclub,” Green said. “I think these guys by nature want to go out and prove people wrong. I think everyone across baseball doesn’t think we are going to be very good this season. And they want to prove them wrong.
“Regardless of what happens from one day to the next day, we are going to show up with the expectation that we are going to win that ballgame.”
On Thursday they will turn to Weaver to do just that.
“We all know what he is going to do,” Green said. “He is going to mix his pitches, not be afraid of anybody, and he is going to go out there to compete to win.”
He will do so with the guile a savvy right-hander brings, one who is looking to lengthen his pro days in Southern California.
“It hasn’t been about (velocity) or him blowing people away,” Green said. “But I think he is back to where his body feels like it should be. We know the man doesn’t lack for confidence.”