Wednesday's series finale against the A's at Oakland Coliseum marked the 10th game Hunter was absent for, with Mark Trumbo getting the bulk of the playing time in right field. Without him, and with Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) on the disabled list, the Angels are thin in their outfield and without one of their middle-of-the-order bats.
Perhaps equally important, they're without by far their biggest clubhouse presence.
"He's an outstanding leader," Trumbo said. "He's very consistent, whether he's getting the results he wants or not. That's one thing I really admire about him, his constant level of energy, upbeat, positive flow.
"Good team guys can be undervalued. You hear about guys around the league who are great clubhouse guys, and his name is definitely at the top of the list. And it's well-deserved."
Indirectly, Hunter's absence has provided the Angels with a taste of what it will be like when he's gone, which -- considering he's in the final year of his contract and the Angels have some young outfielders they need to make room for -- could very well be this offseason. When Hunter does depart, somebody else, or a group of others, will need to fill the leadership void.
At this moment, though, the Angels have gone out of their way to publicly say Hunter, who's batting .256 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 33 games, needs to take his time.
Family first, everything else second.
"I'm pretty sure he wants to be here, but I think as a strong Christian guy that he is, he knows family comes first, before this game," Angels first baseman Albert Pujols said. "He needs to take care of his family matters before anything, and then adjust to the game whenever that time comes. He's a great leader, great guy in the clubhouse, and he's not here for a reason. We wish he would be here, but at the same time, he needs to take care of his family side, which is different."