Even after Weaver spent five innings completely dominating a Chicago split squad that included most of the Cubs' best hitters, a coy Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he wasn't quite ready to say who will pitch Monday against the Minnesota Twins.
"Coming down to the end, we're excited about where a number of guys are -- and Jered is one of them," Scioscia said Wednesday after his club's 11-0 victory. "That was a great tuneup for him. Five great innings, he got all his pitches in, great command. They've got some pretty big guys that can drive the ball."
The Angels' opening day starter in 2008, Weaver went 16-8 last season and then excelled in the playoffs. But he came into Wednesday with an 8.03 spring ERA and even was roughed up last week in a Triple-A game.
"I knew I had to tune some things up, so I really focused on location," said Weaver, the AL's active career winning-percentage leader. "I was able to put my pitches pretty much where I wanted to. Everything felt good. I'm right where I need to be."
The same can't be said about Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs' $136 million man, who struck out twice and grounded into a double play. After an awful 2009 season, Soriano is batting .235 with one homer and three RBIs this spring, and he has fewer hits (12) than strikeouts (13).
Will it be only a matter of time before impatient Cubs fans start clamoring for rookie phenom Tyler Colvin?
"We'd like to see (Soriano) start swinging the bat," manager Lou Piniella said. "I'm going to go with my veteran players and I feel confident they'll get the job done. If not, we can always make some adjustments."
Zambrano gave up four runs and six hits and two walks in four innings and then declared himself ready for his sixth straight opening day start.
"Greg Maddux told me to put in my mind to throw more than 220 innings," Zambrano said, "and that's what I want to do."
Piniella said the fiery right-hander has toned down his act. Still, Zambrano said this about Monday's opener at Atlanta: "They're a very good team but I think we're better. Let's rock and roll."
On Wednesday, he gave up Mike Napoli's long two-run homer, Napoli's sixth shot this spring.
Two Angels outfield prospects had big days: Terry Evans went 5 for 5 with a homer and Peter Bourjos celebrated his 23rd birthday by homering and tripling.
Cubs rookie LHP James Russell, who made the team by pitching scoreless ball in his first 11 innings of relief, gave up a seventh-inning run. ... Previously struggling Angels relievers Fernando Rodney and Scot Shields each pitched one perfect inning. ... Cubs 1B Derrek Lee went 0 for 2 and is batting .176. ... Ten of Napoli's 12 hits have gone for extra bases. ... When the teams meet June 18-20, it will be the Angels' first games at Wrigley Field.