Angels put Jered Weaver on DL

ANAHEIM -- The Los Angeles Angels placed ace Jered Weaver on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a lower-back injury.

Weaver said he's hopeful he can return shortly after he's eligible to return on June 12. It is Weaver's second trip to the DL. He missed three weeks at the start of the 2007 season recovering from right biceps tendinitis.

"It's always disappointing knowing you're not going to be out there pitching two or three times," Weaver said. "I'm a competitor when I get out there, but I'm going to work my butt off in between here to do whatever it takes to get back on that mound."

The Angels recalled 24-year old Garrett Richards to take Weaver's spot in the rotation. Richards said he was informed Monday night that he was headed to Anaheim.

Weaver threw just 12 pitches and faced four batters Monday night against the Yankees before pulling up awkwardly after a pitch to Robinson Cano. He was diagnosed with lower-back spasms and a strained muscle around a disk in his lower spine.

Earlier Tuesday, the Angels announced Weaver was being put on the disabled list before sending a second email asking reporters to "disregard the previous email." In the original announcement, the team said it had recalled Richards from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill Weaver's spot in the rotation. Later, a team spokesman, Ryan Cavinder, sent an email saying, "Jered Weaver has not officially been placed on the disabled list."

Weaver is 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA this season, tied for second in the AL in victories. The lanky 6-foot-7 right-hander threw a no-hitter against Minnesota on May 2, and had given up just three runs and six hits over 15 innings in his two previous starts before facing New York.

"If we were pushing for a playoff spot, I don't think we would have gone the disabled list route," Weaver said. "But we're early enough in the season that we can rest it and let it get back to 100 percent."

The Angels are taking no chances with Weaver, who has made at least 28 starts in each of the past five seasons. He led the majors in strikeouts in 2010 before making his second straight All-Star team and going 18-8 last season.

"It's disappointing when a guy of that caliber has to be on the DL," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully it won't be too long before he's out there pitching, but we don't know what the timetable is going to be. ... I think everyone believes it's going to be manageable, and hopefully it won't be too long, but we have to give him enough time."

Scioscia said Weaver likely will be able to throw again "in very short order" if he responds well to rest in the next few days. Weaver is hoping he'll miss only his next scheduled start Sunday against Texas, but Scioscia is more cautious.

"It's significant enough where it's going to take a couple of weeks," Scioscia said. "When he's back in the rotation is when he's healthy, and when that time frame comes isn't certain."

Weaver is particularly frustrated because the injury prevents him from making starts against the Yankees and the defending AL champion Rangers this week. After a rough start to the season, Los Angeles won its seventh straight Monday night on Mark Trumbo's game-ending homer, evening its record at 25-25.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time [in the schedule]," Weaver said. "But it's early enough in the season where we can take care of it."

Scioscia hasn't decided whether Richards will take Weaver's turn against the Rangers on Sunday, or whether the Angels will take advantage of a day off Thursday to keep the other four starters on normal rest. Dan Haren was scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against the Yankees.

Richards nearly won the fifth rotation spot in spring training, losing the competition to rejuvenated veteran Jerome Williams. Richards is 5-2 with a 4.31 ERA for the Triple-A Bees, excelling despite a recent bout of control problems.

"The game up here moves a lot faster than it does in the minor leagues," Richards said. "You've got to pitch your game. I learned a lot last year, and I just feel like this season I'm a lot more prepared."

The Angels also reinstated outfielder Torii Hunter from the restricted list. Hunter was in the lineup in right field Tuesday night. The team optioned Andrew Romine to Salt Lake. Hunter missed a little over two weeks while he dealt with sexual assault charges in Texas against his 17-year-old son, Darius.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.