CHICAGO -- Sensing an opportunity to give Torii Hunter a night off, Angels manager Mike Scioscia opted to start Vernon Wells in left field and Mike Trumbo in right while using Kendry Morales as the designated hitter on Saturday night.
The switch caused some red flags to go up, but Scioscia said it's nothing more than giving Hunter a break after playing well in hot Texas weather followed by Friday night's 10-inning game against the White Sox.
Hunter has logged hits in 12 of the last 13 games while batting .426 with 12 RBIs in that span. He's also brought his season average to .294, which is the highest it's been since May. Hunter also scorched the Rangers in a four-game series by recording three straight multi-RBI games.
"In Texas, he played well and played a lot and it was hot," Scioscia said. "Last night's night, got a day-night coming up, it's good to get him off his feet for a day and get him out there tomorrow. He's available. More of a preventative thing. This is more of a recharge day for Torii and he's going to be available."
As for Wells, once an everday regular, it's an opportunity to start after seeing his role diminished following a thumb injury that kept him out from May 20 to July 27 -- his sixth career DL stint. In three previous games Wells played since returning from the injury, he went 0-for-11 with two strikeouts.
"It's different, but it's what my role is at this point," said Wells, who isn't feeling any lingering pain in the thumb. "I've accepted it and you get an opportunity to help out in different areas now. You just do whatever you can. If you see something watching games, you try to be a good teammate and an extra set of eyes if you see something going on. But every day is just a new day, come out and prepare and whenever you get a chance to get in the game hopefully produce."
As for his new role, Wells said it's been an eye-opening experience.
"You have a greater appreciation for guys who don't get to play every day," Wells said. "It's a different role for sure. It's a different way of preparing yourself. Every day is an adjustment."
Wells ended 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Angels' 6-5, 10-inning win.