Vernon Wells has struggled in his first ten games in an Angels uniform. After 47 plate appearnaces, the left fielder in Anaheim has struck out twice as often as he’s gotten on base, made contact with less than 70% of the pitches he’s swung at, and turned 22.2% of the balls he has made contact with into infield fly balls.
It was all too much for new manager Mike Scioscia who benched Wells ahead of last night’s game against the Cleveland Indians, causing several Blue Jays fans, unfamiliar with the idea of benching veterans after two plus years of Cito Gaston as manager, to ask, “You can do that?”
It’s a mental day off. Every hitter has rough spots. A lot of guys have some four-for-40s in their history, but when you’re with a new team, there’s a lot of attention on it. The reality is he’s trying to find his timing, and it’s creating some mis-hits. But he’ll find it. I have no doubt about it.
The Angels offense responded by scoring only two runs. Fortunately for them, that’s all Dan Haren needed as he threw a one hit, complete game shutout.
Revisiting the players involved in last offseason’s trade between the Angels and Blue Jays, we find similar tales of useless. Juan Rivera lost his starting right fielder’s role in Spring Training and hasn’t even been considered for pinch hitting duties for the last couple games for Toronto. Meanwhile, Mike Napoli, who was flipped to Texas shortly after becoming a member of the Blue Jays, is struggling to get regular at bats in Texas despite hitting three home runs in fourteen at bats. And Frank Francisco, the player that Toronto got back for Napoli, still hasn’t pitched in a Major League game this offseason as he struggles to get his velocity back during rehab appearances at Single A Dunedin.
Of course, it’s a whole lot easier for the Blue Jays to tolerate a lack of return on the deal given the fact that they were able to shed the remaining $86 million left on Wells’ contract. For the Angels, there’s no such bright side, at least not at this point in April.
And The Rest:
Jayson Werth enjoyed his first game against his former Phillies teammates after signing with the Washington Nationals.
From the Wall Street Journal, how the Polo Grounds fire led to the making of a modern baseball stadium.
Beyond The Box Score looks at batting lines you’ll only see in April.
Today in fascinating: Using computer controlled cadavers, researchers are able to simulate shoulder injuries that occur from pitching baseballs, and hopefully gain some insight.
The Bonds jury enters its fourth day of deliberations.
Duff McKagan: Baseball writer. How could he be so fine?
Simmer down on the supposed Albert Pujols slump. It happens all the time.
Dave Cameron examines Joey Votto’s evolution as a baseball player.
Is there predictive value to the first ten games of the season?
Inspired by Alexi Ogando, ESPN’s Sweet Spot blog takes a look at relievers turned starters.
I’m pretty sure that Buster Olney had already talked about this a month ago, but Tom Verducci takes another look at the Danish tech company that’s changing the way we look at pitching. Mmm, danish.
Michael Pineda has a ten inch, uh, increased presence on the mound.
I may not indulge myself that often, but dancing at a baseball game remains always acceptable: