Slumping Angels get OF Vernon Wells back from DL

Vernon Wells came off the disabled list on Tuesday, with the

slumping Los Angeles Angels hoping he can jump-start their anemic

offense.

Wells was set to bat seventh and start in center field against

the Tampa Bay Rays.

He went on the DL on May 9 with a groin injury after getting

hurt running to first base against the Chicago White Sox a day

earlier. He made two starts on a rehab assignment at Class A Inland

Empire.

”I got enough swings in and it’s just a matter of testing it

out on the field and on the bases,” Wells said.

He is batting .183 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 35 games,

hardly the numbers the Angels had in mind when they signed him last

winter.

”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.

”It’s part of my job, it’s part of a lot of guys’ jobs on this

team to be a sparkplug in different areas. I’m looking forward to

it.”

The Angels had lost three in a row and five of their last six to

fall two games under .500 going into Tuesday’s game. They’ve been

limited to three runs or less in 17 of their previous 30 games,

including each of the last six.

The 32-year-old Wells said he did a double-take when he saw he

was starting in center field, while 24-year-old regular Peter

Bourjos got the night off.

”That’s my most natural position. Any time he puts me in there,

it’s just kind of like riding a bike,” he said. ”Peter’s a little

faster than I am and just a little younger, but I’ll figure it

out.”

Manager Mike Scioscia dropped Wells to seventh in the order to

give him a chance to swing away without having to worry about

moving runners over.

”Hopefully, he’ll get comfortable and start to square some

baseballs up,” Scioscia said. ”Everything that might have been a

question mark, from his groin to his wrist to little aches and

pains that he would have had, are gone.”

Wells, a 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.