That began Thursday, when the veteran right fielder batted fourth behind Albert Pujols and the walk-prone Alberto Callaspo hit second against A's southpaw Brett Anderson. With Kendrys Morales getting what manager Mike Scioscia likes to call a "natural" break against a left-handed starter and Mark Trumbo slumping, Hunter is temporarily being thrust back into the spot he spent most of his time at last season.
And with the Angels facing a lefty starter in three of their next four games -- Anderson on Thursday, then the Royals' Bruce Chen on Friday and Will Smith on Sunday -- it could happen more often.
Trumbo, who normally bats cleanup when Morales is out of the lineup, came into Thursday 2-for-24 with 12 strikeouts this month and has only a .289 slugging percentage over his last 47 games. Hunter, meanwhile, has posted a .334/.372/.467 slash line since June 8, but those numbers have come since his ascension to the No. 2 spot.
The risk with Hunter -- part of a lineup that plated a combined seven runs in the first three games of this series -- is taking him out of his comfort zone.
"When you move guys around, you're always concerned," Scioscia said, "but I think the need to get some depth in our lineup behind Albert is critical."