Angels right fielder Torii Hunter leads off second base during Saturday's… (Jake Roth / US Presswire )
Late in the Angels' 7-0 loss to Boston on Sunday, Manager Mike Scioscia took right fielder Torii Hunter out of the game.
"He told me I [stink] right now, so I just need to take a mental break," Hunter said.
Hunter is hitting .102 (five for 49) in his last 13 games, and though nearly all the Angels are struggling offensively, having scored only five runs in four games, Hunter's frustration is obvious.
"Torii is swinging a lot better than what his stats show," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "He's hitting a lot of balls hard, but he's not getting hits."
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"They say hit the ball hard and you'll get a hit," said Hunter, who was two for 13 in the four-game series with Boston.
"That's not true. I'll take the bleeders right now, the broken-bat hits, bloopers — I like those right now."
Scioscia also took left fielder Vernon Wells out of the game.
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Wells was one for 15 in the series with the Red Sox.
Scioscia said many players are struggling at the plate for different reasons. Some are pressing. Some are just out of sync.
Hatcher said many are caught between taking strikes and swinging at balls.
"There's something wrong with that kind of thinking," Hatcher said.
Are they trying too hard?
Hunter doesn't believe in the concept.
"That's your job, to try hard," he said. "I don't get that. …If you're not trying your hardest, then what are you doing?
"The guys out there that are trying too hard, I like that."
These hitting slumps can occur five times a season, Hatcher said, adding that Scioscia's postgame meeting with the team, in which he told players to move past this series, should help.
But Hatcher said it won't be a quick fix, either.
"When you're going bad, it's usually everybody in the lineup," Hatcher said. "And usually when you're going good, there are guys that are struggling but the rest of the guys are getting it through.
"It just so happens right now that there's major surgery to be done here to get them lined up."
Scioscia said that one trend he wants to end is the Angels' failure to score runs early, which puts pressure on the team's pitchers.
"They're pitching with their backs against the wall," Scioscia said.
Izturis sits out
Maicer Izturis, who was scheduled to start at second base, was scratched from the lineup just before the game because of a sore left hamstring, moving shortstop Erick Aybar into the leadoff spot for the second time this season.
Scioscia said that Izturis, the team's leading batter, will be evaluated Monday and that they're not sure how long he might be sidelined.
"We think it's day to day," Scioscia said.
Scioscia put third baseman Alberto Callaspo in the cleanup spot for the first time this season to try to spark the offense.
Callaspo had a single in four at-bats.