Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver moved up

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels will use Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on three days' rest in their pivotal series against the Texas Rangers this weekend, manager Mike Scioscia said Friday.

The team had been considering such a move for two weeks, but made the final determination after both pitchers emerged from their most recent starts feeling good. Santana, who is scheduled to pitch Saturday, threw 115 pitches in his last start, on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. Weaver threw 96 pitches in his Wednesday start.

"Both guys feel great," Scioscia said. "For one time around, it's no big deal."

Texas began Friday two games ahead of second-place Los Angeles. The Rangers had a seven-game lead over the Angels on Aug. 17.

After this weekend, the Angels will plug Joel Pineiro and Jerome Williams back into their rotation, but they are considering using Weaver, Santana and Dan Haren on short rest later in the season in spots, depending how things go.

Neither Santana (9-9, 3.17 ERA) nor Weaver (15-6, 2.03) has ever pitched on less than four days' rest, a pitcher's typical routine since the mid-1970s. Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said both pitchers have been asking to go on short rest.

"I don't think we pushed them to do anything," Weaver said. "Scioscia asked how we were feeling. We said we felt fine. We just work here, we do whatever they say."

Butcher said a lot of thought and research went into the decision, that both Santana and Weaver have gotten stronger as their starts have gone on.

"Looking at the last few weeks how these guys have been bouncing back from their starts, there's zero doubt in my mind and zero doubt in their minds going into this," Butcher said. "We're not trying to pull a rabbit out of our hat."

The Rangers had dropped five of six entering Friday night. From Tuesday through Thursday, Texas lost three straight to Boston by a total score of 30-7.

But the Rangers insist that the rotation change by their primary division rival would not affect their approach toward the series.

"Bring 'em on," Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "They're good, there's no denying that. So they'll either step up on short rest or they won't."

"We're not afraid of Santana," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're not talking about Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. We've faced Weaver and Santana before."

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.