7/8/2014 2:45 A.M. ET
Weaver's early exit shakes up Angels' rotation
By Matthew DeFranks / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- After a nearly month-long battle to stay in the Angels' rotation, the competition between Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago has been decided, but they both may be staying put.
Before Monday night's matchup with the Blue Jays, manager Mike Scioscia said Santiago was moving to the bullpen in favor of Shoemaker, who would start on Thursday at Texas. However, Shoemaker took over to start the third inning when Jered Weaver was removed with lower back stiffness, putting Santiago's move in limbo.
Scioscia said Shoemaker was a "long shot" to make the start on Thursday after throwing 61 pitches across 3 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays. He did not say who was likely to take that turn.
Shoemaker, meanwhile, was cautiously optimistic about his chances to start Thursday.
"I feel like I'd definitely be able to, but it's one of those things, especially at this level, you want to be at the best physical shape you can be in each start," Shoemaker said. "I feel like I'd be fine but I don't want to say I'd be fine until tomorrow. But I'd feel like I'd be good to go."
On candidate is Santiago, who is 0-1 with a 3.98 ERA in his four starts since being called up. Santiago will be available in the bullpen on Tuesday night, Scioscia said, but could return to the rotation soon.
"I'm sure that Hector's going to get a turn somewhere," Scioscia said.
Santiago was called up to take Tyler Skaggs' place in the rotation after Skaggs went to the disabled list with a strained hamstring on June 10. The Angels have won three of the four games he's started. His second stint as a starter this season was much better than his first (0-6, 5.19).
For weeks, Scioscia didn't have to choose between the two. First, it was because of Skaggs' slower-than-expected recovery and return from the disabled list. Then, once Skaggs did return, it was a doubleheader in Chicago that forced Scioscia to go to a six-man rotation.
Weaver doesn't expect back flareup to linger
ANAHEIM -- Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver left Monday night's 5-2 win over the Blue Jays after just two innings with lower back tightness.
After the game, Weaver said he felt "80 times better" than he did when he came out and he expects to make his next start. The ace said he first felt pain when Adam Lind sent a comebacker to the mound for the second out in the second inning. He stayed in and got Dioner Navarro to fly out.
"Kind of tweaked back the other way and kind of felt a little something," Weaver said. "Wasn't anything sharp or anything and didn't really feel anything in that next at-bat against Navarro, but I went back into the dugout and tried to stretch it out and it just tightened up pretty bad."
Weaver came out to warm up before the top of the third but was removed before the inning started. The right-hander retired all six Blue Jays he faced in the series opener, which was 0-0 at the time of the injury.
"For Weave to come out of the game, you know that he's hurting," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He wanted to continue to try and pitch but no way we would have taken a chance right now with where we are and how well he's thrown."
Two seasons ago, Weaver went on the disabled list with a lower back strain but said Monday's injury was not as bad. That year, Weaver left a game against the Yankees in the first inning and missed nearly a month.
"I'm pretty confident that I can come back, but I don't think it's going to linger around too long," Weaver said.
With the recent demotions of Cory Rasmus and Michael Roth, Scioscia was without a long reliever in his bullpen and opted to go with starter Matt Shoemaker to replace Weaver. Shoemaker threw 3 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
Shoemaker started Thursday against the Astros and threw 102 pitches in six innings.
Angels franchise reaches .500 for first time since 1961
ANAHEIM -- With Monday night's 5-2 win over Toronto, the Angels evened their franchise record at 4,272-4,272-3 and reached the .500 plateau for the first time since they were 1-1 as an expansion team in 1961.
The Angels became the first expansion franchise with an all-time record at or above .500 and the 13th franchise in the Majors with the distinction.
Among expansion teams, Arizona (25 games below .500) and Toronto (62 games below .500) are the closest to the milestone. The Padres (531 games) and Mariners (390 games) are the furthest from the mark.
When manager Mike Scioscia began managing the Angels in 2000, the franchise was 213 games under .500. He has gone 1,285-1,071.
Los Angeles has won 11 straight at home and five in a row overall to notch the landmark win.
The Yankees lead the Majors with an all-time record that is 2,379 games above .500.
• Angels prospect Shawn O'Malley was named to the Pacific Coast League's Triple-A All-Star Team on Monday, replacing Salt Lake teammate Brennan Boesch on the squad.
In 44 games with Salt Lake, O'Malley is hitting .342 with 11 RBIs. O'Malley has played with three Minor League teams this season, posting a combined .315/.394/.442 slash line.
• Kole Calhoun was in the starting lineup against a left-handed pitcher on Monday for the first time since May 31 against Oakland's Tommy Milone.
For most of the season, the left-handed-hitting Calhoun has been platooning in right field with right-hander Collin Cowgill, but his recent hot streak pushed him into the starting lineup.
Over his last eight games, Calhoun has produced a .481/.548/.889 slash line. He has reached to lead off the game in each of his last seven starts.
"I don't know if there's a player hotter in our league than Kole Calhoun right now," manager Mike Scioscia said.
• David Freese started at third base after missing two games with a sore left shin he injured sliding into home plate on Friday.
• On this date three years ago, the Angels called up then-19-year-old Mike Trout, who became the youngest player in the Majors.
Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.