ANAHEIM -- For the first time since undergoing right thumb surgery on May 22, Vernon Wells rejoined his Angels teammates Friday, with a hard splint on his hand and a July return on his mind.
But with Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout playing so well, it's tough to envision to what role Wells will eventually return.
"I think there's still a spot for me in left," Wells said with a slight grin. "We'll just rotate. And I'll be a cheerleader half the time and play some of the time. Once everybody gets a chance to be in the lineup, it's just a matter of going out there and doing what you can to help this team win. It'll all play itself out. I can't predict what's going to happen two months from now."
Wells suffered the injury while trying to regain his balance after stealing second base against the Padres on May 20. He stayed in the game the next half-inning, but could barely throw, came out shortly thereafter and had the procedure a couple of days later.
Wells will get the stitches out on Saturday, stay with his splint for a couple of weeks, then start doing range-of-motion exercises. The initial prognosis said he'd be out eight to 10 weeks, putting him back on the field probably in early August, but Wells is hopeful of a faster return.
"Usually I'm a pretty quick healer," Wells said, "so I'm going to push the envelope as much as I can, obviously without damaging it."
Wells, whose $126 million contract doesn't expire until after the 2014 season, is hitting .244 with a .282 on-base percentage on the year but was 8-for-23 with a couple of homers in seven games before going down. With him out, the Angels recently put together an eight-game winning streak.
"It was bad timing," Wells said, "but it's been fun just watching what's unfolded this last week and a half, the way our staff has been throwing the ball, the way we've been coming back in ballgames. It's been fun to watch. It's encouraging. It's good to see when teams can respond to adversity."