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Vernon Wells' slow start concerns Angels

April 09, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Vernon Wells went two for 13 with four strikeouts in three games against Kansas City.
Vernon Wells went two for 13 with four strikeouts in three games against… (Ross D. Franklin / Associated…)

Minneapolis — Three games into the 2012 season, the Angels are concerned that Vernon Wells is pressing to bounce back from his career-worst 2011, when the left fielder hit .218 with a .248 on-base percentage, 25 home runs and 66 runs batted in.

Wells hit .154 (two for 13) with four strikeouts in the season-opening three-game series against Kansas City, whiffing twice on Sunday on pitches that were well above the strike zone.

Wells was summoned by Manager Mike Scioscia for a brief closed-door chat before Monday’s game, and he was not in the lineup for the road opener against the Minnesota Twins in Target Field.

Asked if Wells might be feeling pressure to make up for last season, Scioscia said, “Absolutely.  He understands how much we need him. There could be some things players do from time to time to overcompensate for some things they’re trying to correct.”

Wells spent much of the winter overhauling his swing and approach under the tutelage of Chicago Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, but Scioscia said the adjustments he spoke to Wells about Monday were more “conceptual” than mechanical.

“His bat speed is still incredible, and his hands are great,” Scioscia said. “He just needs to settle in, and I think less will be more. He needs to keep it simple.”

Bobby Abreu will start in left field Monday, and C.J. Wilson, the former Texas Rangers ace who signed a five-year, $77.5-million deal in December, will make his Angels debut. Minnesota, which lost its first three games, will start right-hander Nick Blackburn.

The Angels lineup: SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Albert Pujols, DH Kendrys Morales, RF Torii Hunter, LF Bobby Abreu, 3B Alberto Callaspo, C Chris Iannetta, CF Peter Bourjos, P C.J. Wilson

The Twins lineup: CF Denard Span, SS Jamey Carroll, 1B Joe Mauer, DH Justin Morneau, LF Josh Willingham, C Ryan Doumit, 3B Danny Valencia, RF Trevor Plouffe, 2B Alexi Casilla, P Nick Blackburn.

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