All signs are pointing toward Jered Weaver's returning to the rotation next week, but the team won't make a final decision until the right-hander throws in the bullpen this weekend.

"It's very encouraging," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're going to see how he comes out of his bullpen, and if everything is fine, we'll fold him into the rotation in the middle of next week. If he needs more work, it will be there for him."

Weaver, out since he suffered a broken left elbow in an April 7 game at Texas, threw 52/3 innings in an extended spring-training game in Arizona on Wednesday, giving up one run and six hits, striking out nine and walking none.

He threw 75 pitches, 62 for strikes. He said the velocity of his fastball started in the 85- to 88-mph range and ended in the 87- to 90-mph range. Weaver struggled with his mechanics during his first two starts of the season, and his velocity fell to the 85-mph range.

"My location was good, my velocity was good, everything felt good," said Weaver, who joined the team in Kansas City on Thursday. "I'm starting to gain a little arm strength back."

Asked if he could pitch in a major league game next week, Weaver said, "Yes." But as eager as he is to return, "I know the Angels are not only looking at now; they're looking out for the future," Weaver said. "They want to make sure it's right. It's up to them, and I totally support whatever they want to do."

If Weaver stays on his regular schedule, he could start Monday night in Dodger Stadium. He could also pitch Tuesday night, taking the place of right-hander Joe Blanton, who entered Thursday's start against the Royals with an 0-7 record and 6.62 earned-run average but pitched a solid 6 1/3 innings.

The Angels could also start Weaver on Thursday in the fifth spot, which has been vacated by Tommy Hanson, who is on the restricted list while he deals with the aftermath of the death of his 24-year-old stepbrother.

Hanson threw a simulated game in Arizona on Tuesday and continues to work in extended spring-training camp. Scioscia said the right-hander is "close to getting back."