Five years ago today: Jered Weaver debuts for Angels

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May 27, 2006

Filling in for an ailing Bartolo Colon, 2004 first-round pick Jered Weaver makes his major league debut for the Angels and shuts out the Orioles for seven innings to earn a win.  He allows three hits, walks one and strikes out five in a 10-1 victory.

Weaver went on to open his major league career 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA, but the Angels still chose to send him down when Colon came off the DL on June 18.  The alternative would have been to demote his brother, Jeff, who was the team’s weakest starter at the time.

The Angels did make that switch a couple of weeks later, recalling Jered to replace Jeff on July 3.  Weaver won three more starts in a row afterwards, opening his career 7-0 with a 1.15 ERA before taking his first no-decision on July 29 against the Red Sox.  He was 9-0 through 12 starts before finally losing for the first time, and it was a cheap loss, too, as he gave up just one run over six innings against Boston in a game the Angels dropped 2-1.

Weaver ended his season 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA, but he finished a mere fifth in the ROY balloting in what was a very strong year for AL rookies.  Justin Verlander won the award with a 17-9 record,  Jonathan Papelbon finished second with his 0.92 ERA and 35 saves and Francisco Liriano came in third place with a 12-3 record and a 2.16 ERA.

Athletics hire third base coach Matt Williams

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The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.

Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.

Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.

While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.

“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”