Hunter has flourished since move to two-hole

Hunter has flourished since move to two-hole

Hunter has flourished since move to two-hole
BOSTON -- Angels outfielder Torii Hunter shortened his swing when he moved up in the lineup in June, and he has been pleased with the results.

Hunter took over as the Angels' No. 2 hitter on June 8 in Colorado. Since then, he's raised his average from .238 to .299 in 61 games entering Tuesday's series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"I cut down my swing as far as swinging hard and trying to go deep like I usually do," Hunter said. "I cut my swing down and try to swing at strikes and take the base hit, and that's why I'm swinging a lot better."

Hunter has been a force at the plate in the second half and is hitting .353, good for sixth in the American League among players with at least 50 plate appearances.

"I'm older -- with a little more wisdom -- and just swinging at my pitches, waiting for my pitch and the pitches that I can handle, and that's what's been going on," the veteran said.

While Hunter's power numbers are down this year (12 homers, 16 doubles), he's hitting for average and setting the table for slugger Albert Pujols and the heart of the Angels' lineup.

"All I'm doing is taking base hits and trying to get on base for the guy behind me -- which is Albert Pujols -- and that's my job," Hunter said. "I'm bunting more and doing a lot of things different this year."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia thinks the top of the lineup is well suited for Hunter.

"When he was moved into the No. 2 hole it made him blossom and show some of the things he can do," Scioscia said. "He's a situational hitter, he's not just a home run hitter, he's not just a guy that can hit in the middle of the lineup. He's a situational guy, and I think that's the baseball he grew up on when he was a young player coming up.

"He has the ability to hit and run, get bunts down, and I think it's been fun for him in the No. 2 hole to be able to do all those things."