Jays offer Weber chance at a job

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays doctors will have to forgive Ben Weber if he runs the other way when he sees them coming.

The former Anaheim Angels reliever with the violent delivery has developed an aversion to team doctors over the past two years, and with good reason.

Early in the 2004 season, Weber, two years removed from his key role in the Angels' world championship bullpen, began experiencing numbness in his pitching hand and forearm.

The seriousness of that numbness hit home two seasons ago in a game against the New York Yankees when he asked the home plate umpire permission to blow into his hand, a practice pitchers normally employ on just the coldest of nights.

"I felt like I was cold because the hand had gone numb," Weber said.

Since that night, Weber has lost count of the number of doctors -- he figures it's in the range of 20, most of whom worked for the Angels or Cincinnati Reds -- who told him his problems could be taken care of by a rehab program.

It wasn't until last season when a visit to his own chiropractor, a man not employed by a major league team, that Weber learned it was a ruptured disc in his neck that was causing his problems.

This past off-season he had surgery and now considers the scar just below his Adams apple as his ticket back to a substantial role in a major league bullpen.

Physically, he is ready to make a run at it, but as a non-roster invitee in the Jays camp he knows the road won't be easy, particularly with the Blue Jays returning all of their relievers after a solid 2005.


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