Jered Weaver jogged out of the dugout, serenaded with applause from every corner of the stadium. This was a happy time, or at least it was supposed to be.

Weaver dared not extend a handshake to a teammate, or a fist pump to the fans. He held his left arm gingerly, at a right angle.

For these few brief moments, as the Angels introduced their players one by one before Tuesday's home opener, Weaver had removed the blue sling that protected his broken elbow.

Pomp and circumstance had been replaced by whispers and apprehension. The Angels lost their ace in the morning and their shortstop in the evening, baldly exposing a stunning lack of depth beneath the surface of a fat payroll.

It would not be unusual for a pitcher to be out at least a month because he was hit by a batted ball. Weaver will sit out at least a month because he got out of the way out of a batted ball — and fractured his elbow on the landing.

The Angels dropped the phrase "silver lining" a little too often for comfort Tuesday. Yes, the elbow is not the one attached to Weaver's pitching hand. Yes, better early in the season than late.

Garrett Richards should hold his own replacing Weaver in the starting rotation. But that best-case scenario could be two steps backward.

"When you lose someone of Weaver's ability, it puts a hole in your pitching staff in a couple of areas," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're going to patch those holes and move forward."

Weaver was the one guy the Angels could count on to get into the seventh inning. His absence means more pressure on a bullpen that had been stabilized largely by Richards.

That bullpen now includes two guys the Angels picked up on the day they broke camp. One of them, a 30-year-old rookie named Dane De La Rosa, called up to replace Weaver on the roster, never had met the Angels' pitching coach until Tuesday afternoon.

"Hi," said the coach, introducing himself with a handshake. "Mike Butcher."