If most teams lost their highest-paid player for two months, it might be a debilitating blow -- and his
return would be highly anticipated.
That's not quite the situation with Angels outfielder Vernon Wells.
Wells has been a major disappointment since being acquired by the Angels before the 2011 season. He was
one of the most unproductive hitters in baseball last season, batting .218 with a .248 on-base percentage.
This year didn't start much better. He hit .244 with a .282 OBP in 38 games before tearing a ligament in
his right thumb on May 20.
At that point, the Angels were 18-24 with a dysfunctional and inconsistent offense.
Things have changed dramatically while Wells recovered from surgery to repair the torn ligament. Rookie
Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo have stepped up as every-day outfielders, with one leading the American League
in batting (Trout) and the other leading the league in slugging percentage (Trumbo). Veteran Torii Hunter,
meanwhile, has been rejuvenated by a move to the No. 2 spot in the Angels lineup, hitting between Trout and
That leaves little room for Wells (making $21 million a year for the next three seasons), who began a
minor-league injury-rehabilitation assignment by going 1-for-3 with a double for Triple-A Salt Lake Friday
"We're not going to talk in hypotheticals," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said when asked what role will
be waiting for Wells when he returns. "We're going to look at the situation presented when Vernon is back
healthy and ready to go. I think he understands the situation.
"With the way Mike and Mark are playing, they're going to need to be out there every day. But we'll see
how everything folds in."
The Angels come off a 6-1 victory over Texas Friday night.
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