ANAHEIM -- No player in baseball cares more about winning, producing and leading than Torii Hunter. He takes his team's struggles very personally, something his manager, Mike Scioscia, understands and occasionally must monitor.
Coming off a frustrating 0-for-4 Tuesday night performance in a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, Hunter was given Wednesday's matinee against Boston off. Reggie Willits took his place in center field with Scioscia shuffling his lineup to place Bobby Abreu -- who homered and doubled against former Angels ace John Lackey -- in Hunter's cleanup spot.
Hunter went from his highly active All-Star Game role as the unofficial host for the Angels to six draining games in the heat of New York and Texas, returning home for a pair of games -- and wall-banging sessions at Angel Stadium. Scioscia figured it was time for a two-day break to recharge his best and most influential player.
"It's not just the All-Star Game hoopla and all that," Scioscia said. "It's playing center field and hitting cleanup. It's a tall order sometimes. Torii puts so much effort into his games. Sometimes you have to freshen up.
"That's his nature [to take on responsibilities], to be that lead dog -- and he's very good at it. At times he can try to do a little too much in the batter's box, think he can do more with a pitch at times because of his nature. He wants to be the guy to lead his team into the playoffs. But a team isn't built on one guy. You need everybody doing what they can."
Hunter is batting .208 with one homer and two RBIs in 12 games since the All-Star break, his season average falling from .298 to .286. He had hard collisions with the wall in each of the first two games against the Red Sox and was groggy after the first one on Monday night.