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Angels rookie Weaver spoils Duckworth's Royals debut

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Jered Weaver has won his first four big-league starts, but AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon is about to come off the disabled list.

That presents the Los Angeles Angels with a difficult choice regarding Weaver's status: Does he stay in the rotation or go back to Triple-A?

"It's a tough decision," manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday night after Weaver held the Kansas City Royals to an unearned run over seven innings in a 4-1 victory. "There's a lot of things to consider, and we're going to consider everything."

General manager Bill Stoneman isn't tipping his hand, either.

"I think we're in a good situation," Stoneman said after the game. "We'll have a roster move at some point to make, and we'll discuss it at that point in time when it's time to make that roster move."

Weaver, the Angels' first-round draft pick in June 2004, reduced his ERA to 1.37 and became the second pitcher in franchise history to win his first four major-league starts. The other was Bo Belinsky, who won his first five starts in 1962 and finished his rookie season 10-11. Whether that's enough to keep Weaver in the majors is another story.

"I haven't heard one word," the 23-year-old right-hander said. "They've got the Cy Young Award winner coming back, so whatever happens happens. It's not my decision. My job was to make it pretty tough on them to decide, and so far I've done that. But I'm not going to let all the stuff that's been circulating bother me. It just goes in one ear and out the other."

Weaver, the younger brother of Angels right-hander Jeff Weaver, struck out five and walked one. He has allowed just four earned runs, 16 hits and four walks in his 26 1/3 innings of work -- and has received a total of 30 runs of support from his teammates.

"If I'm the odd man out and I get sent back down, it's just going to make me want to work that much harder to get back up here and stay here for the long haul," Weaver said.

Scot Shields pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Francisco Rodriguez did likewise in the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances, as the last 14 batters for the Royals went down in order.

Brandon Duckworth (0-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings in his Royals debut, striking out six and walking three. The right-hander, obtained from Pittsburgh on Saturday, became the 12th pitcher to start a game for the Royals this season -- one more than they used last year.

Duckworth is pitching for his third big-league team after stints with Philadelphia and Houston. He agreed to a minor-league contract with the Pirates on Jan. 5 and won seven of his last eight decisions with their Triple-A Indianapolis club.

"This was a great start tonight for me, as far as on a personal note -- to get back out there and compete. And I'm looking forward to doing the same for many more starts to come," Duckworth said. "I felt good, going out there and giving the team a chance to win and limiting any damage that could have occurred. But at the same time, I'm disappointed that we lost."

Darin Erstad, playing his second game since coming off the disabled list, gave the Angels a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a run-scoring groundout. Chone Figgins hit an RBI single in the seventh against Andrew Sisco and then stole second and third on Joel Peralta's first three pitches before scoring the Angels' fourth run on Orlando Cabrera's groundout.

Cabrera singled in the Angels' first and scored on a double to left-center by Vladimir Guerrero, who was thrown out by left fielder Shane Costa as he tried to make it to third. Costa misjudged Guerrero's drive to the warning track, taking his eye off the catchable ball to see where center fielder David DeJesus was.

Cabrera has reached base in 43 consecutive games without the benefit of a fielder's choice, the longest current streak in baseball and longest in club history. He has hit safely in 27 of
his last 31 contests and is 25-for-54 over his last 14 games, raising his average from .271 to .313.

Game notes
Duckworth played one season of college ball about seven miles from Angel Stadium at Cal State Fullerton, going 8-1 in 1997. As fate would have it, longtime Fullerton sports information director Mel Franks worked his first game as the backup official scorer to Ed Munson -- who worked his 2,000th game last Friday night. It was only the second game Munson has missed as the Angels' official scorer since opening day 1981. ... Former Angels pitcher Chuck Finley, the franchise's career leader in victories, starts and innings pitched, will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on June 24 at Natchitoches, La.