Wells gets breather amid August struggles

Wells gets breather amid August struggles

Wells gets breather amid August struggles
ANAHEIM -- The Angels have tried just about everything to get Vernon Wells going at the plate.

They've incorporated drills Wells used in Toronto en route to three All-Star selections, the most recent one coming just a year ago. They've shuffled him up and down the lineup. The Los Angeles Times recently reported Wells got tapes from Toronto of his at-bats from those successful Blue Jays years as the Halos' marquee offseason acquisition continues his never-ending quest to right himself at the plate.

But whatever the Angels or Wells have tried this year has not worked. Wells is hitting .138 (8-for-58) in 15 games this month, his average (.201) just one point north of the Mendoza Line.

Wells was held out of the lineup Thursday's series finale against Texas as the Angels look to avoid a devastating four-game sweep at Angel Stadium.

"There's nothing that we haven't tried," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've tried to uncover everything with Vernon, and right now he's just not squaring up balls in the batter's box."

Scioscia wouldn't say if Wells could miss multiple games.

"We'll see," he said. "At times it's not bad when you sit for two or three days to catch your breath.

It's hard to put a finger on just what exactly is ailing Wells. Scioscia said that his bat speed isn't an issue and remains "lightning quick." The Halos skipper also ruled out the right groin injury that forced Wells to miss close to a month.

"I think that's the first thing that you rule out -- the physical thing," Scioscia said. "Actually when he came back from his pulled groin was when he just went crazy with the bat."

Wells enjoyed a minor surge when he hit .279 (31-for-111) during a 29-game stretch from June 7 to July 9 that saw him raise his average from .183 to .225.

But Wells' uptick in production was short-lived. Baring a sudden surge, Wells is headed for the worst season of his career at the plate with career lows in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging.

"With Vernon, obviously, there are a number of areas where you're just scratching your head because it's so just out of character for even what he's done on some of his lesser years," Scioscia said.