ANAHEIM -- Angels ace Jered Weaver is one step closer to returning to the rotation after throwing a 60-pitch simulated game on Friday.
After going through his normal pregame routine, Weaver, who has been on the disabled list since May 29 with a lower back strain, threw his full repertoire of pitches in a four-inning, simulated outing and said he felt no pain or discomfort afterward.
Manager Mike Scioscia said the plan is to have Weaver throw a bullpen session on Sunday, see how he feels, then have a discussion with the team's medical staff about when Weaver can return to the rotation.
"We want to make sure we don't miss any steps, and he's where he needs to be," Scioscia said. "Obviously, the first look out of the workout he felt great. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, play a little catch, and then Sunday throw a bullpen and see how he feels. Then we can make a determination of exactly where he is."
In 11 starts this season before going to the DL, Weaver (6-1) has a 2.61 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 15 walks. He's holding hitters to a .195 batting average. He injured his back in the first inning of the Angels' 9-8 win against the Yankees on May 28 while throwing a fastball to Robinson Cano.
In two starts replacing Weaver, rookie Garrett Richards (1-0) has given up three runs in 12 innings (1.50 ERA) with 12 strikeouts and seven walks. He is slated to start his third game of the season in the series finale against the D-backs on Sunday.
Catcher Wilson heads for weekend rehab stint
ANAHEIM -- The Angels are getting close to getting some depth back to their thin catching corps.
Manager Mike Scioscia said catcher Bobby Wilson, who has been out since June 4 after taking a foul tip to the mask, is going to play rehab games in Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday and Sunday before the team decides if he's ready to return.
"He had a good workout this afternoon, needs to get out there and just catch a little deeper into games and make sure he's showing no effects from that concussion," Scioscia said.
The Angels were extra safe with Wilson, considering he has a history of concussions. He went on the 15-day disabled list in April 2010 with a concussion after a collision with the Yankees' Mark Teixeira at home plate.
Chris Iannetta, who has been out since May 8 recovering from right wrist surgery, will be re-evaluated this week by the medical staff to see how much more throwing the catcher can handle.
Iannetta injured his wrist after getting hit by a pitch on May 2 against the Twins, the night he caught Jered Weaver's no-hitter, and caught only three games after that before having surgery.
"He's got enough throwing in him right now where it shouldn't take that long for him to get back to where he can start catching in rehab games," Scioscia said. "It will probably take about two or three workouts for him to feel good about where his arm is."
Even when Iannetta and Wilson were available, the Angels have gotten very limited offensive production out of the catcher's position. They rank 26th in the Majors in batting average (.207) and slugging percentage (.297) from catchers. The four home runs from catchers is tied for 20th in the league.
Before going on the DL, Iannetta had a .197 average with three home runs and Wilson had a .171 average with no homers. In only three games this season since his callup, Hank Conger is batting .300 (3-for-10) with one RBI.
Kendrick shows signs of snapping out of slump
ANAHEIM -- Despite the Angels' winning ways since the middle of May, second baseman Howie Kendrick hasn't gotten back on track quite yet.
In his last 30 games entering Friday, Kendrick has no extra-base hits (the longest streak of his career), while batting .224 with 23 strikeouts. For the season, he was hitting .262 with 13 extra-base hits, 12 walks and is tied with Mark Trumbo for the team lead in strikeouts with 49.
Though Kendrick's last extra-base hit came more than a month ago on May 9, manager Mike Scioscia said Kendrick has actually been having better at-bats recently but has just barely been missing.
"He's missed some pitches, fouled some pitches back that he usually hits hard," Scioscia said. "He hit the ball hard a couple of times in the Dodgers series with not a lot to show for it. Although, maybe statistically it's been a rough 75 at-bats or so, I think he's showed some signs of getting that bat head to the ball a little easier."
Manager Mike Scioscia didn't say whether reliever Scott Downs, who missed all three games against the Dodgers with tightness in his side, would be available for Friday's series opener.
The lefty's last appearance came against the Rockies on Sunday, when he tossed one inning, giving up one run and a season-high three hits. He has a 0.42 ERA in 24 appearances this season.
The Angels have won 11 of their last 12 Interleague series dating to 2010. They have not lost an Interleague set at home since dropping two of three against the Brewers in June 2010.
Joe McIntyre is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.