Slumping Vernon Wells on bench for Thursday night’s game
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The Angels are at a loss to explain Vernon Wells’ dramatic decline since they acquired the veteran left fielder from the Toronto Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in January.
Wells, 32, was a career .280 hitter who averaged 25 home runs and 90 runs batted in over the previous 9 1/2 seasons. He is hitting .201 with 17 homers and 46 RBIs this season.
Though he’s never been known for his patience, Wells averaged 45 walks a year before the trade. He has 15 walks this season, and he’s so anxious at the plate he rarely gets to a three-ball count.
And just when you thought Wells couldn’t get any worse, he’s in a 22-game skid in which he has hit .126 (11 for 87) with one homer, five RBIs and three walks.
Not surprisingly, Wells is not in the lineup for Thursday night’s series finale against the Texas Rangers, and Manager Mike Scioscia said he might consider giving Wells an extra day or two off. The Angels, seven games behind Texas in the American League West, are looking to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers. “When you project performance, you’re going on a past record, how a player’s skills are and what you think he’ll do on the field,” Scioscia said. “You’ll see a little fluctuation with guys, and it could be 15-20% at times. You might have that guy who drives in 100 runs have 80 RBIs the next year; a guy who hits .300 hits .260 one year.
“With Vernon, there are a number of areas where you’re just scratching your head because it’s so out of character for even what he’s done in some of his lesser years. The bat speed is there. He just hasn’t found the timing and rhythm to square balls up consistently outside of that four-week period where he was hot.”
The Angels lineup: 3B Maicer Izturis, 2B Howie Kendrick, LF Bobby Abreu, RF Torii Hunter, 1B Mark Trumbo, DH Russell Branyan, CF Peter Bourjos, SS Erick Aybar, C Jeff Mathis, P Jered Weaver.
The Rangers lineup: 2B Ian Kinsler, SS Elvis Andrus, CF Josh Hamilton, 3B Michael Young, RF Nelson Cruz, DH Mike Napoli, 1B Mitch Moreland, C Yorvit Torrealba, LF David Murphy, P Colby Lewis.
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-- Mike DiGiovanna