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ANGELS NOTEBOOK: WEAVER, COLON GET SOME WORK.

Byline: DOUG PADILLA

Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It was dueling starters Tuesday in the Angels' minor-league complex as Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon continued their race to overcome injuries.

Both right-handers threw at the same time on adjacent fields that were about 75 feet apart.

Weaver is closer to returning than Colon, so it was no surprise that he had the more impressive outing. Facing the Chicago Cubs' Triple-A lineup, Weaver gave up just two hits and did not allow a run in a 46-pitch outing. He threw as hard as 90mph on an Angels radar gun, recording a strikeout in his third inning on five pitches that ranged from a 70-mph breaking ball to a 90-mph fastball. He showed no discomfort from the biceps tendinitis that plagued him earlier this spring.

Weaver will pitch again Sunday, when he is expected to go four innings and 60 pitches. He will then face at least two rehab starts in Rancho Cucamonga and likely make his return to the major-league roster during an April 13-16 trip to Boston.

"I thought he was terrific," manager Mike Scioscia said of Weaver. "He threw some good breaking balls, some good off-speed pitches. That's a great first step. We'll see how he comes out of it, and hopefully five days later he'll be able to increase it."

Colon, who suffered rotator cuff damage last season, reached as high as 94mph while facing the Cubs' Double-A lineup. He gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits in two innings, throwing 29 pitches. The earned run came on a home run from Cubs prospect Brian Dopirak.

"I think he had been throwing well in his simulated games, but he lit it up today," said Scioscia, who added that Colon might pitch again in a camp game Saturday. "The big thing about Bart's game is hitting spots. That's going to take some work and some time on the mound, but his velocity was great. He had great action on the ball.

"He touched 94, so when he's getting the ball in that range, you know his arm feels good."

Facing the past: Darin Erstad's awkward moment No.2 came Tuesday when he made his first visit to Tempe Diablo Stadium to face the Angels. Erstad played his first game against the Angels when they visited the White Sox on March17 at Tucson.

"I'm trying to get this transition over with as soon as possible, and we'll move on," Erstad said.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would not say if Erstad will be his Opening Day center fielder, but did say the former Angel deserves to be in his lineup some place. Erstad was 1for3 Tuesday and is batting .301 (22 for 73) this spring with a home run and eight RBIs.

The Angels plan to recognize Erstad with at least a video tribute when the White Sox come to Anaheim May 4-6.

Looking ready: Dustin Moseley looked ready to assume Jered Weaver's April 6 start at home against the Oakland Athletics with an effective outing against the White Sox. Moseley gave up two runs on eight hits in six innings with a walk and six strikeouts.

"I've been feeling pretty crisp out there the last couple of outings," Moseley said. "I threw strikes down in the zone, and they put the ball in play at people. The defense played real well behind me again. They have to stay on their toes when I'm throwing. They're going to put it in play."

Visit from The Greatest: Muhammad Ali was in the Angels clubhouse before Tuesday's game, shaking hands and taking photos with players. Ali, who owns a home in the Phoenix area, was a visitor to Angel Stadium two years ago.

One of Ali's representatives is a friend of Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead.

Also: Even with one game rained out, the Angels hit 100,000 in spring attendance for the third time in history. They also reached the mark in 2004 and 2005. ... With the loss of catcher Toby Hall (shoulder) this week, rumors have started that the White Sox are interested in acquiring Jose Molina as a backup to A.J. Pierzynski. ... The Angels reassigned right-hander Matt Hensley to minor-league camp.

doug.padilla@sgvn.com

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731

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- Doug Padilla
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 28, 2007
Words:724
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