Vernon Wells activated from DL

Updated: June 8, 2011, 2:25 AM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The struggling Los Angeles Angels activated outfielder Vernon Wells from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, hoping four weeks off can ignite Wells' bat and lift them from their offensive doldrums.

Wells, who had been on the DL since May 10 with a strained groin, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

"It's just a matter of relaxing and trying not to force the issue, just let some things come to us," Wells said. "Even though it's frustrating, guys are battling. You've got to battle your way through periods like this and get back to where we were."

The Angels had scored three runs or fewer in six straight games and 17 of their last 30. Wells was batting .183 with 30 strikeouts in 35 games before the injury in his first season with the Angels. The Angels went 9-16 in Wells' absence and slipped 6½ games in the standings.

"No matter what the numbers have been, I think I can bring some things to this team that can help us moving forward," Wells said before the game. "Yeah, it's part of my job and it's part of a lot of guys' jobs to be a spark plug in different areas. There are different facets to this game. I'm looking forward to it."

Wells, baseball's second highest-paid player, played just two minor league rehab games before Tuesday's move. He batted seventh and played center field Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, though his primary position will remain left.

The three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner was acquired from Toronto during the winter with four years and $86 million remaining on a $126 million, seven-year contract he signed with the Blue Jays.

The Angels had been struggling to deal with the absence of both Wells and Howie Kendrick, their leading hitter this season.

The Angels don't expect Wells to singlehandedly lift them from their hitting funk, but they feel his veteran presence will improve their lineup eventually.

"You're definitely seeing a guy who's been out for about a month. No matter what you do in the minor leagues or in batting practice to get re-acclimated to major league pitching might take a couple games," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Not that he's not going to square some balls up and hit them hard."

The Angels optioned utility man Alexi Amarista to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room on the roster for Wells.

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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.

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