He said he wasn't stressed. Turns out – he wasn't being entirely truthful.

"Y'all didn't 'see' me stressed," Angels outfielder Vernon Wells said of dealing with a brutal start that saw him batting .183 over 100 plate appearances into his first season with a new team.

"You do a lot of thinking," he said. "A lot of thoughts go through your head, trying to figure everything out. Sometimes it's better to do what you know you can do. Simplify things and just get back to what you can do."

It's easier for Wells to say that now than it was to do it then. A groin injury that landed him on the DL for 26 games served as an obvious way to hit the restart button. In 16 games since returning, Wells is batting a more respectable .254 (15 for 59) with four home runs and 10 RBIs. His three-run home run Saturday was his fourth on this 12-game trip which ends Sunday.

"We've been talking about Vernon for awhile and he's starting to drive the ball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's making a difference. We need that presence in the middle of our lineup."

But don't ask Wells how he got it back.

"I never lost it," he said to that. "You go through periods. That's the way this game is. I said it before and I'll say it again – I'm not afraid of struggling. Struggling can make you get better.

"I just happened to go through mine at the start of the season. Now it's my job to help out a little more."

The Angels are counting on that. Just over two weeks ago, Scioscia called his three veteran hitters – Wells, Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter – into his office for a meeting. The message to them was that they didn't have to try to carry the team single-handedly, but they were going to have to lead the way collectively.