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Angels' Wells to have surgery on right thumb, out 8-10 weeks

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Associated Press
5/21/2012 7:41:14 PM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Another day, another setback in the Los Angeles Angels' maddening start.

Vernon Wells was diagnosed Monday with a torn ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery, sidelining the high-priced outfielder for at least eight to 10 weeks.

"Any time you lose a guy that you're counting on who has maybe shown some signs of getting back to his game, it's unfortunate," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the team opened a three-game series at Oakland. "You have to have that depth and we'll hopefully be able to absorb it."

The hits just keep coming for the Angels this season.

While new slugger Albert Pujols' slow start has been well chronicled, a chunk of the lineup has been shattered. Torii Hunter is on the restricted list and catcher Chris Iannetta will be out at least another month after surgery on his right wrist.

Backup outfielder Ryan Langerhans also separated his right shoulder in Sunday's 3-2 loss in 13 innings at San Diego while banging against the left-field wall. The Angels placed Langerhans on the 15-day disabled list with Wells, but said his injury would not require surgery.

Outfielder Kole Calhoun and reliever Bobby Cassevah were called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to take their places. Right-hander Michael Kohn, out for the season after Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Mike Trout was in left, Peter Bourjos in centre and Mark Trumbo in right against Oakland. Whenever Hunter returns, Scioscia indicated that Trumbo will likely slide to left.

The outfield jostling all came about in an instant.

Wells was injured stealing second base in the second inning of Sunday's loss. He played in the bottom of the inning and then came out.

"He felt it move. He thought it popped out and popped back in," Scioscia said. "That happens a lot of times where it's just something that you work through. The next inning, he had no chance to swing the bat. No chance to play."

Wells wasn't with the team in the Bay Area.

He will have surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb Tuesday in Los Angeles. The operation will be performed by Dr. Steven Shin.

"Got bad news today. Need surgery tomorrow. Torn ligament in my thumb," Wells tweeted, also asking fans for prayers.

Wells is making $24.6 million this season, second only to Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez at $30 million. He's still due about $21 million in each of the next two seasons from the seven-year, back-loaded contract he signed with Toronto, which sent Wells to the Angels last year for outfielder Juan Rivera catcher Mike Napoli.

The 33-year-old is batting .244 with six home runs and 12 RBIs this season, although he had shown signs of coming out of his season-long funk.

"His at-bats were better, that's for sure," Scioscia said. "He was getting into better counts. He was taking more walks. He was putting better bats on the baseball. It's unfortunate."

Vernon Wells (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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