Wells warming up with home cooking
Texas native enjoys nice series in Arlington for Blue Jays
ARLINGTON -- It remains to be seen whether a few nights of sleeping in his own bed have snapped Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells out of a slump.
But Wells is feeling a good vibe, and so is his manager, Cito Gaston.
Wells, who played high school ball in Arlington and who lives in nearby Southlake, Texas, went 2-for-5 Tuesday with a triple in the second inning that sparked a four-run inning. On Monday, he walked twice in front of a pair of Adam Lind two-run homers. He also made a game-saving catch in the ninth inning on a rocket hit by Rangers designated hitter Hank Blalock.
For Wells, doing the little things right could be building success and confidence.
"He's starting to feel and think that way," Gaston said. "It doesn't matter what I tell him or what [hitting coach] Gene [Tenace] tells him. Until he feels that way, we can't do anything about it. He's getting his timing back and that's only going to help him even more."
Wells had two hits in his previous 24 at-bats before collecting two extra-base hits in Tuesday's 9-0 victory over the Rangers. He still hadn't gone deep in 121 at-bats going into Thursday, his longest such streak since going 131 at-bats without a homer in April-May 2002.
Wells said after Tuesday's game that he feels like he might be snapping out of his funk.
"I hope so," Wells said. "Yesterday felt a little better. It's just a matter of time."
Wells' home run drought could be putting him in jeopardy of a seventh consecutive 20-homer season. He had five home runs in 61 games, which has him on pace for 13 homers this season.
But his teammates still look to him as a quiet leader on a team he is signed with through 2014. Wells, 30, said on a Dallas radio station Tuesday that he expects to play his entire career with the Blue Jays. He remains a face of the franchise and puts forth the effort every night, teammate Lyle Overbay said.
Overbay talked about a game last week against Kansas City when Toronto had a big lead, and Wells made a sensational catch, saving his pitcher a few runs late in a game. It's that kind of hustle that saves a teammate's ERA, and who knows, it could aid him come contract time.
"That's why he's so valuable to this team," Overbay said. "He takes away hits left and right. And he makes plays that his teammates take notice of."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.