Found August 12, 2012 on
Fox Sports West:
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Vernon Wells made a rare start for the Angels on Saturday night, but his offensive output was so impressive it earned him a second consecutive start on Sunday.
Wells made only his fifth start since coming off the disabled list on July 27 but was 3 for 3, including his first home run in almost three months, in a 7-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. As a result, manager Mike Scioscia put him back in the lineup in left field and moved Mark Trumbo to first base. Albert Pujols started at designated hitter.
"That was the most comfortable we've seen him in the box since he put on an Angel uniform," Scioscia said of Wells. "Hopefully, it's something he can build on."
Wells has had few positive moments since he was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2011 season. He had 25 home runs last season but hit .218 with 66 RBIs. This season, he was batting .244 with six homers when he suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb and was forced onto the 60-day disabled list.
He was worse after returning, going 0 for 16 until Saturday night. Scioscia said it was simply a matter of feeling comfortable at the plate.
"It's obviously a comfort level you have to find, a rhythm," Scioscia said. "He was in a hitting count every at-bat. It didn't lead to walks, but it led to pitches he could hit, and he hit them hard. I think that's a function of seeing the ball, understanding your swing, understanding what you need to do in the batter's box, and I think Vernon had it.
"I hope it's something he can bottle because he's definitely underperformed. It was good to see him contribute last night."
It doesn't necessarily mean Wells will return to the lineup on a regular basis, but he could earn himself more playing time down the stretch, Scioscia said.
"We're going to take this one day at a time," he said. "Believe me, Vernon swinging the bat well, from a depth standpoint, will be very important to us. If you want to know what keeps us up at night, I think you have a better sense of what's consuming our thoughts right now and that's our pitching."
On that front, the Angels got some good news. Left-handed reliever Scott Downs (left shoulder strain) threw off the mound before the game and might not need a rehab assignment in the minors. And right-hander Jordan Walden pitched two-thirds of an inning Saturday for the Salt Lake Bees and gave up three hits and two earned runs.
"Physically he felt good," Scioscia said of Walden, who has been on the DL since July 15 with a strained right biceps. "He's trying to work himself back into his delivery, and just getting back out there in a game is something he needs a little bit of work on. Obviously he needs another outing and then we'll see where he is."
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