Guerrero given night off to rest
With Thursday's off-day, right fielder will get nice break
ANAHEIM -- With the Angels' first off-day at home looming Thursday, manager Mike Scioscia decided to rest right fielder Vladimir Guerrero on Wednesday to give him two days off in a row for the first time this season.Guerrero was hitless in three at-bats in the Angels' 3-2 win against the Tigers on Tuesday, but collected three hits in six at-bats in the first game of the series. Guerrero, a career .322 hitter, is batting just .258 this season, which is the lowest average in his career after 51 games. "We just wanted to let him catch his breath because he's really been grinding it," Scioscia said. "We'll just give him two days just to mentally recharge." Scioscia insisted that the move is not because of Guerrero's health and that his early season slump is mental and not physical. "Physically he's fine," he said. "Every player is going to have aches and pains and Vlad's no exception, but it's not hampering what he needs to do. He's just been grinding mentally." Guerrero has batted at least .300 with 25 home runs the last 10 seasons, a run which is second all-time to Lou Gehrig, who did it for 11 seasons in a row. Guerrero has just seven home runs this year but has hit three home runs in the last week. Hitting coach Mickey Hatcher believes that Guerrero's recent power surge is a sign that he is coming out of his hitting funk. "This guy has been swinging the bat a lot better lately," Hatcher said. "I really believe that his stats are going to be there. He might not be hitting .300 now, but I think he'll still have great stats for this team when we come down the stretch." Reggie Willits made his first start in the outfield since May 17 and batted leadoff. Willits injured his middle finger Saturday against the White Sox but returned to action Tuesday with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.