Outlook: Wilson looks to build on improvements in '14

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels have set their rotation order for Spring Training, with C.J. Wilson following Jered Weaver on Saturday, Hector Santiago pitching Sunday, Garrett Richards starting on Monday and Tyler Skaggs getting the ball on Tuesday.

That could very well be the order the Angels carry into the regular season, though injuries could alter it, and Skaggs still has to prove he's ready to take control of the fifth spot.

Joe Blanton, who has $8.5 million remaining on his contract after a rough 2013 season, will be used to start split-squad games, which the Angels conveniently have in five-day intervals on March 7, March 12 and March 17. At some point in the next three days, the 33-year-old right-hander will start getting stretched out by pitching the middle innings.

Blanton's situation remains the same: If Skaggs struggles, he could be a temporary option as a fifth starter to open the season. Otherwise, the Angels will spend the spring looking for a trade partner and will release him if they can't. The Angels aren't expected to carry Blanton as a long reliever.

Weaver's new routine pays off in first start

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jered Weaver got ready in a way he never really has before this offseason. He worked on his offspeed pitches prior to Spring Training for the first time, in anticipation of getting stretched out early, and trained with massage therapist Yoichi Terada to "get all the limbs and everything feeling up to par."

"Just a lot of stretching and trying to get all the tightness out of this body that's not getting any younger," the 31-year-old right-hander said. "I still feel good, but just a little extra maintenance this offseason."

Weaver noticed the difference in his first Spring Training start against the Cubs on Friday, while breezing through three scoreless innings at Tempe Diablo Stadium in the Angels' 15-3 win. He gave up one infield hit, walked none, struck out one and allowed only one hard-hit ball -- a line-drive out by Chris Coghlan to lead off the game.

Weaver sat at mainly 87 mph with his fastball during his 41-pitch outing, which is right around where he was in 2013, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia felt the ball was "coming out hot."

"It felt good," Weaver said, "and that's what's most important right now."

Weaver focused on throwing strikes and being disciplined with his mechanics. He threw mainly fastballs in the first inning, then started integrating breaking pitches in the last two frames. As usual, his changeup was very effective.

"It looks pretty good all the time," he said with a sly grin.

Weaver is used to throwing no more than two innings in his first Spring Training outing. But Angels pitchers are getting pushed harder in camp this year, with each starter already completing the equivalent of a two-inning simulated game and lining up for three full frames the first time around.

Weaver faced the minimum in the first two innings, then sat on the bench as the Angels batted around to score four runs, then notched a 1-2-3 third to finish his day.

"It was nice to have that long wait; it gave me a chance to catch my breath," Weaver said. "I didn't know how it was going to work out. Obviously, that first start you're a little nervous going into it, just because you don't know if location is going to be there or what-not, but I felt good. I don't know how many pitches I threw, but I still felt like I had some more to go."

Worth noting

• Angels closer Ernesto Frieri was scheduled to pitch on Friday, but instead left the team to be with his wife, Caroline, who gave birth to the couple's second daughter in Phoenix. Veronica was born at 9 a.m. PT, weighing 7.3 pounds and measuring 22 inches.

• Forecasts call for steady rain in the area on Saturday, which would pose a serious threat to the Angels' 12:05 p.m. PT game against the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz. If the weather causes a cancellation, Wilson will get his work done indoors.

• FOX Sports West will air 26 Spring Training games, with Terry Smith and Jose Mota calling the action and Patrick O'Neal joining the broadcast as a new "Angels Live" host. For the March 3 and 4 simulcast games on FOX Sports 1, Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza will call the action.

• Prior to the Cactus League opener, Tempe Diablo Stadium held a moment of silence for Jim Fregosi, the former Angels All-Star shortstop and manager who died on Feb. 14 from complications after suffering multiple strokes.