ANAHEIM -- For essentially the first time in his baseball-playing life, Vernon Wells is a part-time player. So, since being activated from the disabled list exactly three weeks ago, the 33-year-old Angels outfielder has tried to adjust to an entirely different way of life, with regards to his preparation, his role and his overall importance.
How has this new life been?
"Good, actually," Wells said on Friday. "The only thing I'm focused on is us winning games. I'm at the point now where I'm not really concerned with when I'm not in the lineup. I'm more concerned at what the outcome of each game is. When I'm on the bench, it's trying to help out as much as you can. If you see something, communicating with guys when they're playing, trying to do what you can to help the team win. The adjustment, at first, was difficult. But now, I'm enjoying it as much as I can."
The Angels have played 21 games since Wells' July 27 return, and the much-maligned player has started eight of them, getting playing time ahead of Peter Bourjos on nights when the opposing starter throws left-handed. He started off 0-for-16, then went 3-for-3 with a homer last Saturday and has gone 0-for-8 since.
That's life on baseball's bench, where hot streaks die fast and rhythm is almost impossible to attain.
No complaints from Wells, though.
"I know this is what this time is," said Wells, out of the lineup against the Rays' James Shields on Friday. "This is a unique opportunity to be on a very good team, and you have to take advantage of it no matter what your role is. For the next, hopefully 2 1/2, three months, this is what this is. You just worry about the here and now. You can't control what's going to happen in the offseason, or what's going to happen next year. But I think everyone knows I can still play every day. There's just no room right now."