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Vernon Wells' tenure with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hit another sour patch Sunday when he tore a ligament in his right thumb while attempting to steal a base against the San Diego Padres. Wells will have surgery to fix the ulnar collateral ligament, which will keep him out for eight to 10 weeks.
With Ryan Langerhans (separated shoulder) hitting the disabled list as well, the Angels found themselves short fly-catchers - Torii Hunter remains on the restricted list while he helps his son through a very personal sexual assault lawsuit. Kole Calhoun was brought up from Triple-A Salt Lake to provide some much needed depth. The Angels released Bobby Abreu late last month.
Mike Scioscia had to get creative with his lineup late in an extra-innings tilt Sunday; Howard Kendrick was moved to left field and Albert Pujols was moved across the diamond to third base in the bind.
Wells is one of baseball's most overpaid commodities, and it just gets worse for the Halos. He's due $21 million a year through 2014. Wells still has the pop to hit 20-plus homers over a full season, but he hasn't been a source for BA consistency since his .300 season in 2008 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
He's hitting more liners at a rate (19.5 percent) that he hasn't achieved since 2005 and he's cut down some on his strikeouts, but the average hasn't followed (.244/.282/.422 in 142 PAs). His speed has dwindled, too, making him practically one-dimensional. His latest injury makes him expendable in shallow mixed leagues unless you could use the DL spot.
Peter Bourjos will benefit immediately from this. He had lost significant playing time since all-world stud Mike Trout was recalled April 27. Since that date, Bourjos has received just six starts and has hit .263 with only two RBIs. Overall, he has a slash line of .203/.288/.281 with only one stolen base.
The inconsistent time on the field is a clear culprit in his poor production, but Bourjos' below-average contact skills and on-base percentage limit his stolen base productivity, despite the elite speed he possesses. Now that he'll be in the lineup daily - at least until Hunter returns - he's worth watching in shallow leagues and grabbing in deep mixed systems if you are scrounging for thefts.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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