Sitting six games below .500 and coming off a pair of losses to the crosstown rival Dodgers, the Angels sure could use a bit of a spark. You know, the type of spark that might come from the much-anticipated return of an ace and a clubhouse leader.
Jered Weaver is hoping to provide exactly that type of lift for an Angels club that got off to a horrendous start but has turned things around a bit of late, winning eight straight before dropping a pair of Freeway Series games at Dodger Stadium.
The Halos right-hander gets the ball Wednesday night against the Dodgers as the setting shifts to Anaheim. Weaver has been out of action since April 7 because of a fractured left elbow, but he threw 75 pitches last Wednesday in an extended spring training game.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver is by no means stretched out to midseason form, but he's looked sharp in all his sessions with pitching coach Mike Butcher. As for calming the nerves of pitching what will essentially be a second Opening Day, Scioscia isn't concerned.
"Weave will have a good balance," Scioscia said. "He will be fine. I think there is always a little bit of nervous energy a pitcher has when he is about to start a game, and I don't think Weave will be any different."
Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano (1-3, 5.60 ERA) takes the ball opposite Weaver, looking to get back on track after giving up six runs in five innings against the Cardinals on Friday.
But he'll have to contend with Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, who has flat out owned Capuano over the years. The Halos slugger is 21-for-38 (.553) with five homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs in his career against the veteran southpaw.
The Dodgers hope their two victories this week -- including Tuesday night's two-hit shutout from Hyun-Jin Ryu -- foreshadow brighter things ahead. They entered the week having lost six of nine and with questions surrounding the job status of manager Don Mattingly.
But it's unlikely the Dodgers will be as potent as many projected, without more production from Matt Kemp. The slumping center fielder was slotted in the five hole for the first time since 2010 on Tuesday night, where he went 1-for-2, bringing his average to .154 in his last 39 at-bats.
Kemp was removed in the ninth inning, feeling numbness in his right arm in the wake of being hit by a pitch in the elbow in the second inning. But Mattingly thinks Kemp will play on Wednesday.
Dodgers: Ramirez on the mend
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez may start a rehab assignment as early as Thursday after he spent part of Tuesday fielding ground balls and taking batting practice without any pain.
Ramirez is recovering from the strained left hamstring he sustained just four games after returning from thumb surgery.
"Hanley was really good today," Mattingly said. "It sounds like if everything goes well, Hanley is getting close to going out later this week."
Angels: Burnett to the DL
Halos left-hander Sean Burnett was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with an impingement in his throwing elbow.
The southpaw recently missed 22 games on the DL with forearm irritation. He had surgery to remove bone spurs in October and said the inflammation stems from that.
"Hopefully in 15 days I'm good to go," Burnett said.
• Angels slugger Josh Hamilton sat out Tuesday's game with back spasms.
• Left fielder Carl Crawford is one of the few Dodgers who has had success against Weaver in his career. Crawford has five hits in 15 at-bats, including a double and a home run.
• The two clubs have split their 48 meetings at Chavez Ravine, but the Angels have dominated at Angel Stadium, winning 30 of 46.
• In their last 10 games, the Halos are hitting .391 with runners in scoring position.
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.