LOS ANGELES -- Lost somewhat in the shuffle of the offensive outburst that gave the Angels a three-game sweep over the Rockies on Sunday and a Major League-best 14-4 mark since May 22 was the continued struggles of Ervin Santana.Santana had another ugly outing that afternoon, yielding seven runs for a second straight start while giving up a season-high nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old right-hander finds himself 3-7 with a 5.74 ERA and a Major League-leading 18 homers allowed on the year. Santana started off the season poorly (7.23 ERA in four starts), pitched very well while getting little run support immediately after that (2.25 ERA in five starts), and he has once again struggled of late (10.18 ERA in four starts). Twice in his recent stretch, Santana's control has been erratic, leading to a combined 13 walks. The other two times, he's been bit by the home run bug, giving up four long balls. But manager Mike Scioscia notices a common theme in all of them. "His fastball command, his ability to command both sides of the plate and staying in good counts," Scioscia said. "A lot of times, he has the right plan, but he's having trouble getting the pitch where it needs to be." Santana may need to figure that out quickly. Jered Weaver (lower back strain) could be a week or so away from returning, and with promising young right-hander Garrett Richards now with the club, Scioscia could have an interesting dilemma on his hands. Santana could in fact have one more start to prove he belongs in the Angels' loaded staff. But the Angels' skipper won't put that kind of urgency on the situation. "I don't think it's coming down to one start," Scioscia said. "I think that Ervin needs to get into his game. He pitched some good ballgames with not a lot of support early. This last little stretch has not been what he can do. We know that. But Ervin pitching to his potential is really important to us, and I think we definitely need him to start getting into that mode."
Weaver ready to throw bullpen session
LOS ANGELES -- The distance between Jered Weaver's rehab and the pitching rubber is now only about a foot.The Angels ace, still recovering from a strain in his lower back, took another step forward on Monday, throwing about 30 pitches from the front part of the mound, where he incorporated his curveball, slider, changeup and fastball. "Felt great," Weaver said. "Didn't feel nothing." Next up will be a full-fledged bullpen session on Tuesday -- while actually toeing the rubber this time -- then perhaps a simulated game a couple of days later. After that, his first start since May 28 -- when he felt excruciating pain in his back while delivering a pitch, leaving his outing against the Yankees in the first inning -- should only be days away. "It's feeling good," Weaver said of his lower back, which didn't even allow him to throw a warmup pitch that afternoon. "I haven't felt it since two days after it happened. Just wanted to be more safe than sorry. The little slope is definitely a step in the right direction." Chris Iannetta (right wrist surgery) felt stiffness in his forearm while warming up before what was supposed to be his first rehab game for Class A Inland Empire on Friday, but has been cleared to resume baseball activities again. The Angels' starting catcher, out since May 8, is expected to start his rehab assignment in the middle of the week, with manager Mike Scioscia estimating he'd need four or five games behind the plate before being activated. Catcher Bobby Wilson recently passed an impact test, which evaluates a concussion victim's reaction time and memory, and was cleared for full baseball activities for the first time Monday. He's targeting being activated from the seven-day disabled list over the weekend. "Yesterday was the best I've felt," said Wilson, who suffered his fourth career concussion while taking a foul ball of his face mask on June 4. "I could finally read all the signs out in the outfield in Colorado without having to squint or without it being a little blurry. That, to me, just says that I'm over it."
Former Dodger Scioscia gets bobblehead in LA
LOS ANGELES -- The Freeway Series between the Angels and Dodgers will get an interesting dose of irony on Tuesday, when the Dodgers honor ex-catcher and current Angels skipper Mike Scioscia with his own bobblehead.Scioscia is the Dodgers' all-time leader in games played at catcher (1,394) and won two World Series rings while with the club from 1980-92. But since the start of 2000, Scioscia has managed the team that resides 40 miles south, moving to the Angels organization after several years as a coach in the Dodgers organization. "I don't why I was picked for a bobblehead," Scioscia said with a wry smile, "but it's a great honor. It's pretty cool. I had an incredible opportunity to play with a great organization, and to get recognized with a bobblehead, I guess, is the soup d'jour. So it's pretty cool." Scioscia may have been looking to say "icing on the cake," or something to that effect. His bobblehead, which will be distributed on Tuesday, depicts a younger version in full catcher's gear. Scioscia's wife has already asked for extra copies. "I don't know what she's going to do with them, but ..." Scioscia said, shrugging his shoulders. Torii Hunter had some laughs with it pregame, making fun of the bobblehead on camera without noticing Scioscia was seated right behind him listening to it. "You still want to bat second?" the Angels' skipper playfully asked his right fielder.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.