ANAHEIM -- No player in baseball cares more about winning, producing and leading than Torii Hunter. He takes his team's struggles very personally, something his manager, Mike Scioscia, understands and occasionally must monitor.
Coming off a frustrating 0-for-4 Tuesday night performance in a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, Hunter was given Wednesday's matinee against Boston off. Reggie Willits took his place in center field with Scioscia shuffling his lineup to place Bobby Abreu -- who homered and doubled against former Angels ace John Lackey -- in Hunter's cleanup spot.
Hunter went from his highly active All-Star Game role as the unofficial host for the Angels to six draining games in the heat of New York and Texas, returning home for a pair of games -- and wall-banging sessions at Angel Stadium. Scioscia figured it was time for a two-day break to recharge his best and most influential player.
"It's not just the All-Star Game hoopla and all that," Scioscia said. "It's playing center field and hitting cleanup. It's a tall order sometimes. Torii puts so much effort into his games. Sometimes you have to freshen up.
"That's his nature [to take on responsibilities], to be that lead dog -- and he's very good at it. At times he can try to do a little too much in the batter's box, think he can do more with a pitch at times because of his nature. He wants to be the guy to lead his team into the playoffs. But a team isn't built on one guy. You need everybody doing what they can."
Hunter is batting .208 with one homer and two RBIs in 12 games since the All-Star break, his season average falling from .298 to .286. He had hard collisions with the wall in each of the first two games against the Red Sox and was groggy after the first one on Monday night.
Haren doing fine, set to pitch Saturday night
ANAHEIM -- Dan Haren "should be good to go Saturday" against the Rangers according to manager Mike Scioscia. The newly acquired right-hander made it through a throwing session with everything in tune following his scare on a Kevin Youkilis line drive off his right forearm in his Angels debut on Monday night.
"He felt good," Scioscia said. "We'll look at his next couple days, how he progresses. He had no problem manipulating the ball throwing all his pitches."
Haren clearly takes pride in taking the ball and getting his team into the late innings with a chance to win. He is the only pitcher in the Majors who has gone 215-plus innings each of the past five seasons, and he's among the top five in quality starts, strikeouts and strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Haren, scheduled to face the Rangers' Scott Feldman, is 3-5 in 10 career outings against the Rangers with a 4.29 ERA. Haren has fared better against the Angels' other two American League West foes. He's 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two trips against his former club, the Athletics, and 6-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 12 starts against the Mariners.
Wilson comes off bench to catch Shields
ANAHEIM -- Bobby Wilson drew his first start behind the plate on Wednesday against the Red Sox since delivering a home run and two RBIs in New York seven days earlier in a 10-6 loss to the Yankees.
The Angels' starter that day was Joel Pineiro, who drew the assignment in the series finale against Boston's Josh Beckett but was scratched after suffering a left oblique strain while warming up. The start went to to reliever Scot Shields, his first since Sept. 28, 2003, and 15th of his career.
Shields, who has had control problems this season, was the game's premier setup man from 2004-08. His '09 season was a struggle and prematurely when he had surgery on his left knee. With Wilson behind the plate, Shields has given up seven earned runs in seven innings, a 9.00 ERA.
"Bobby's obviously been solid defensively," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the rookie receiver from Florida. "He has really good hands and receives well. I think Bobby's on his way to showing he's going to work well with everybody [on the pitching staff]. We have a lot of confidence in him."
The Angels are 11-4 in Wilson's starts, and his catcher's ERA is 3.79 in 130 2/3 innings. The team's overall season ERA is 4.43.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.