Vernon Wells benched

Updated: April 12, 2011, 9:21 PM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Vernon Wells acknowledged he has been trying too hard at the start of his Los Angeles Angels career.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia benched Wells Tuesday night in the midst of a 1-for-26 slump.

"There have been a lot of pitches I've fouled off that normally I would have crushed," Wells said. "It's a combination of just missing pitches and maybe trying to do too much."

It hasn't been a smooth transition to the West Coast so far for Wells, who is batting .091 after his first 44 at-bats with the Angels. The Angels traded Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to the Toronto Blue Jays for Wells in January, taking on all but $5 million of the remaining $86 million on his contract.

In Wells' last two games, he has heard scattered boos at Angel Stadium. In addition to his struggles at the plate, he lost track of how many outs there were during Sunday's game, allowing two Blue Jay runners to take extra bases. Jered Weaver was able to pitch out of the jam.

Wells said the boos at home haven't bothered him.

"I've heard enough of them at various times in my career," Wells said. "They're frustrated, I'm frustrated. They're disappointed, I'm disappointed. It goes along with it and I'll turn those into cheers before too long."

Scioscia informed the veteran outfielder after Monday night's 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians that he would get the following game off as a "mental day." Wells said he tried to argue to stay in the lineup, but lost the debate.

A 10-year veteran, Wells is off to the slowest start of his career. He took extra batting practice with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher before Monday night's game.

"We talked about this with Vlad Guerrero a couple years ago," Scioscia said. "There have been 4-for-40s in a lot of players' histories. When you're with a new team and they're the first at-bats that are out there, they're naked in the first part of a season. There's going to be a lot of attention on it."

Scioscia said Wells would return to the lineup for Wednesday afternoon's game. He missed the final week of spring training with a mildly strained hamstring, returning for the team's last exhibition game. He said the disruption at the end of the spring might have a little something to do with his early-season struggles.

"When you go through struggles, it makes you appreciate the good times so much more," Wells said. "You never want to go through it, but it's going to happen at some point. You'd rather not have it happen at the beginning of the season."

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE MLB HEADLINES